“A Generation Forged By War,” the series of stories, podcasts, and video being rolled out by The Courier, today features area World War II veterans. The multimedia project continues through Dec. 23.

The military ranks of what is often referred to as the “Greatest Generation” are declining not just in this area, but nationally, where there are now said to be only about 389,000 vets left. About 300 pass away each day. The stories of area WWII vets are invaluable, and worth telling and preserving for all those who follow.

Of course, there are many other U.S. veterans among us, too, from the Korean War, Gulf wars, Vietnam era and from peacetime. They all deserve our attention and appreciation especially today, Veterans Day.

In all, there are 19 million veterans in the United States, including about 800,000 in Ohio, according to estimates from the National Center for Veterans Analysis and Statistics.

This state has always been well represented in the nation’s military, and today there are somewhere between 3,000-5,000 vets representing all branches of the military currently residing in Hancock County, according to county Veterans Services Commission and National Center estimates.

The veteran population is substantial as well in surrounding counties with estimates of about 7,300 in Wood County; 6,700 in Allen County; 3,600 in Seneca County; 2,000 in Hardin County; 1,800 in Henry County; 1,600 in Putnam County; and 1,500 in Wyandot County.

The WWII vets will be front and center in the newspaper in the coming weeks. We encourage all to read, watch and listen to their stories.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget our other vets. Make it a point to acknowledge those you already know and seek out those you may not. Veterans are throughout our communities. They work beside us, and shop and eat at the same places we do.

All deserve our respect and a word of gratitude, not just today. We can never thank them enough.