America’s veterans have gone to war for centuries to protect us from enemies overseas.
They have endured loss of friends, loss of limbs, and loss of mental and emotional security to protect us.
Now our veterans need us.
They need us to protect them from a new enemy stealing lives right here in our state — the COVID-19 virus.
At least half of Idaho’s veterans are at-risk of serious health complications or death if they contract COVID-19.
Last week, we directed $2 million in federal relief dollars to help the Idaho State Veterans Home in Boise battle a COVID-19 outbreak that is taking veterans’ lives and leaving them in isolation.
The Veterans Hospital in Boise, too, is overrun with COVID-19 patients and too many VA healthcare workers are out sick, unable to care for these veterans.
Similar stories are playing out in hospitals and long-term care facilities statewide.
Our veterans bravely encountered bullets and bombs so that you can have the freedom to control your own actions.
And your personal actions are the one and only thing that will defend our veterans from succumbing to the enemy virus.
We won’t celebrate and honor the brave men and women of the armed forces on Veterans Day this year like we usually do. I am hopeful we will be able to pick up those meaningful events next year.
This year, in addition to offering prayers and kind words to our veterans on Veterans Day, make this minor sacrifice: help slow the spread of this dangerous virus by keeping your distance from others, wearing a mask, and washing your hands frequently.
Our veterans need us to get tough and put up with these minor inconveniences for a relatively short period of time so they can have a fighting chance against the COVID-19 enemy that is rapidly advancing on them.
Our veterans have more life to live. We need to keep them alive so we can continue to honor them and learn from their sacrifices.
Let’s use the freedom our veterans earned for us and choose to do the right thing to protect them from COVID-19.
Brad Little is governor of Idaho.