Life after military service Published Nov. 11, 2016 By Airman 1st Class Christopher Maldonado 20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. -- Veterans Day is recognized annually on Nov. 11 to honor those who have served in the armed forces. The national holiday is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice of 1918, which ended the World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany. According to a 2014 study by the Department of Veterans Affairs, there are over 19 million veterans throughout the United States and its territories. Military service, regardless of branch, is seen as an opportunity to represent the U.S., by preserving the country's historical legacy and the individual freedoms of its citizens. Veterans across the nation have faced challenges throughout their careers, such as being away from family, putting their service above any personal gain and often deploying to fight threats in the name of freedom. "Being the spouse of a veteran is not easy, I would go months without seeing my husband," said Barbara Ellis, wife of retired Maj. Gen. Billy Ellis. "Although we were separated for such long times, I was proud of him because he was serving the greater good." Some veterans, upon separation, keep their military ties by pursuing their former career in the civilian sector. "I faced many difficulties throughout my career as an engineer, but these experiences helped give me a new outlook on life," said retired Air Force Maj. Martin Flax. "I have been working almost 16 years as an industrial engineer after separation, here in Sumter." Although some events impact the lives of veterans in different ways, the opportunity to serve and represent this nation is one of the biggest honors in the U.S., said Flax. Having served the nation with selfless dedication for years, he is confident the future of the U.S. armed forces will continue to grow with the heart of the nation's youth and future patriots. Every individual has a story. Without the dedicated service veterans provide in order to preserve the liberties and freedoms of U.S. citizens, this nation would not be where it is today. This Veterans Day, Team Shaw gives thanks to those who have served and continue to serve their nation regardless of the dangers they may face, and for their efforts in strengthening the foundation of the "land of the free" and "home of the brave."