Today we observe Veterans Day, a day set aside to honor our veterans and to show appreciation for the courage and patriotism of all the men and women who have served in the military.
From the fields and forests of war-torn Europe to the jungles of Southeast Asia, from the deserts of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan, brave patriots have protected our nation’s ideals, rescued millions from tyranny, and helped spread freedom around the globe. America’s veterans answered the call when asked to protect our nation from some of the most brutal oppression the world has ever known.
Military service demands a special kind of sacrifice. The places where you are sent to live and serve bring risk every day. From the time you put on that uniform for the first time, the interests of the nation move to the forefront and define your life. Those duties are ultimately shared by family members who make many sacrifices of their own, sometimes bearing the burden of losing a loved one.
Service brings rewards as well. There is the pride in developing one’s own character, serving a cause far greater than self-interest. Every man and woman who wears America’s uniform is part of a long, unbroken line of achievement and honor. No single military power in history has done greater good, shown greater courage, liberated more people or upheld higher standards of decency and valor than the Armed Forces of the United States of America.
That is a legacy to be proud of and those who contributed to it must never be taken for granted. To honor our veterans, we must keep the promises we have made to them. We must care for those who have been injured in the service of our country. We must honor and remember those who have died. And we must remember those whose fate is still undetermined. We fly the Prisoner of War flag on Veterans Day for a reason, to show that this nation will not relent until we have accounted for every last one of our missing Americans.
Thank you for your service. Thank you for all that you have sacrificed for this great nation. Thank you for being the backbone of America.
Happy Veterans Day.