Ketchikan has great respect for its veterans, and for their peers throughout Southeast, the state and the nation.

Veterans will be honored Thursday with a national holiday and parades, programs, memorials and tributes from north to south and coast to coast.

Veterans Day honors men and women from all branches of the U.S. armed forces.

It started out as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I on Nov. 11, 1918.

It was renamed Veterans Day in 1954, and ever since has honored all veterans.

The American Legion in Ketchikan will pay tribute to veterans on Thursday, starting with an 8 a.m. breakfast and an 11 a.m. service at the Joseph T. Craig Post 3 on Park Avenue.

Others in the community know Veterans Day to be a holiday, but in the midst of doing what one does on a break day in the middle of the week, at least a moment to recall its origin is appropriate.

Thursday we honor Americans who joined the armed forces and, leaving homes behind, went where called in hopes of securing and protecting the nation, assisting allies, and as a result improving others’ lives.

Some members of the armed services stayed state side while others went overseas. But, in every case, they looked beyond strictly their own desires and to the well-being of others.

They deserve our thanks. Thank a veteran this week.