Honoring Our Veterans

American Flag 6/2014

Today is Veterans Day in the United States (and Remembrance Day in many other countries).  While Remembrance Day honors those who have lost their lives in service to the nation, in the United States, we honor all those who have served in the military on Veterans Day.

From President Obama’s Veterans Day remarks in 2011:

To all our nation’s veterans:  Whether you fought in Salerno or Samarra, Khe Sanh or the Korengal, you are part of an unbroken chain of men and women who have served this country with honor and distinction.  On behalf of a proud and grateful nation, we thank you.

 

 

This generation of service members -– this 9/11 Generation -– has borne the burden of our security during a hard decade of sacrifice.  Our servicemen and women make up less than 1 percent of Americans, but also more than 1 million military spouses and 2 million children and millions more parents and relatives — all of whom have shared the strains of deployment and sacrificed on behalf of the country that we love.

 

Only 27 years old on average, these young men and women have shattered the false myth of their generation’s apathy, for they came of age in an era when so many institutions failed to live up to their responsibilities.  But they chose to serve a cause greater than their selves.  They saw their country threatened.  But they signed up to confront that threat.  They felt some tug, they answered some call, and they said, Let’s go.  And they’ve earned their place among the greatest of generations.

 

That is something for America to be proud of.  That is the spirit America needs now — a stronger, newer spirit of service and of sacrifice.  That spirit that says, What can I do to help?  What can I do to serve?  That spirit that says, When my country is challenged, I will do my part to meet that challenge.

 

So on this Veterans Day, let us commit ourselves to keep making sure that our veterans receive the care and benefits that they have earned; the opportunity they defend and deserve; and above all, let us welcome them home as what they are — an integral, essential part of our American family.

 

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