Primanti Brothers is giving a free sandwich today, beginning at 4 p.m., to veterans and active-duty military in honor of Veterans Day. Let’s hope they have plenty of ham and roast beef on hand.
Although it is the sixth most populous state in the nation, Pennsylvania is fourth in the number of veterans, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. So, look around — there are plenty of people who deserve thanks and a free meal today.
There are 939,069 veterans living in the Keystone State. Almost three-quarters of them served during wartime. The largest single group, 309,178, served in Vietnam.
Their importance grows even as the size of the U.S. military shrinks, as well as the proportion of Americans who have ever served their country. Twenty-five years ago, 40 percent of young Americans had a parent who had been in the armed forces; today, that number is 16 percent, The Economist reported.
Regardless, America’s fighting force continues to draw admiration. In a June poll, Gallup found that Americans value the military over all other institutions, with 42 percent of respondents saying they have “great respect” for the military and 30 percent saying “quite a lot.” The military is more respected than the church, the Supreme Court, the medical system and small business, among others.
It’s one thing to say it, but today’s the day to show it. We join all Pennsylvanians in saluting veterans and active-duty servicewomen and men. As Patrick Henry said, “The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” They have earned not just a free meal today, but the nation’s gratitude and respect all year.