Today we honor all those who have served in our nation’s armed forces. Our very existence as a nation and our continued freedom depends on their never-ending commitment. Despite whatever politics and disagreements divide us internally, the men and women of our armed services have always been there to protect our nation. In an era where the mere sight our nation’s flag is considered offensive to some, we must still recognize that all of our natural rights were secured by those who served. Today is their day and our nation’s duty to recognize them.
Our nation’s military has a long and proud history starting with the very formation of our country. For over 245 years, it has fought for the rights and liberties of our citizens around the world. The men and women of our armed services answered the call of their nation and put their very lives on the line. It is because of them that we have the freedom, safety, security and the rights so many take for granted.
But that freedom comes at a cost. Our military has fought in places and in conditions most of us would turn our heads away from in disgust. They have fought enemies with no regard for the value of life or common human dignity. They have fought against forces whose only desire is to take our lives because of what we as a nation believe in. Our veterans have laid down their bodies and their souls for our nation, for the values we hold dear, and for us. They have done all of this without question and with pride, dignity and honor.
As is common in modern times, our youth and even some of the adults idolize the stars of the music and film industries as well as professional sports players. While a few are in fact good role models for our children, more are rich, entitled brats who have precious little in common with the people who are responsible for their enormous wealth and fame.
I submit to you a better option; the men and women who have made the choice to do service for their country. They do not serve for the glory, the fame and certainly not for the great salary military service provides. From the mechanic who works on the planes to the pilot who flies them into battle. From the cook who keeps the troops fed on the line to the brilliant strategist who comes up with the plan to defeat our enemy. From the clerk who keeps the supplies coming in at the right time to the Special Forces operator who surgically strikes a terrorist stronghold and frees innocent captives. Each one of them is a hero and role model in their own right. They do these jobs not for themselves; they do it for their nation. What prouder tradition and sense of values could we ever want to instill in our families.
The veterans of our armed services are the heroes who walk among us every day. Many of our friends and neighbors have served their country with quiet, distinguished pride.
Both of my parents served in United States Air Force. While I did not have the honor to serve myself, the discipline and the values they instilled in me based on their service and dedication shaped my life forever.
On November 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued a message to all Americans on the first anniversary of the armistice ending the hostilities on the Western front of World War I. He thanked the nation and those who served during the war and marked the beginning of Armistice Day. It wasn’t until 1954 that the word “Armistice” was replaced by “Veterans” so as to honor all service veterans.
While we set aside this one day to honor these men and women, the privilege of knowing them and being grateful for their service goes on year-round. To those of you who have answered their nation’s call to defend our country and liberty, we thank you for your service.
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