A tribute to American veterans and armed services personnel
November 12, 2006
We pay grateful tribute to our American veterans and to all of our current armed service personnel. The story of America has been written, in large part, by the selfless and noble deeds of hard working and dedicated men and women committed to liberty and justice in a free society. Our American Veterans and Service Personnel are, among others, truly endemic of that ranking. We commemorate Veterans' Day to honor the men and women who have served in our Armed Forces. We extol them for their virtuous defense of our homeland and liberty, and thank them for their sacrifice on our behalf. As General Norman Schwarzkopf often quipped, "It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle, it takes a hero to be one of those men who go into battle."
And it is only possible that the Legions of those who served would preserve the truth of a free society. That man is indeed able to govern himself, and his vices are able to be controlled by balances of power. As it was said by Vermont Royster, "But it came to pass for a while in divers places that the truth did set man free, although the men of darkness were offended and they tried to put out the light. The voice said, Haste ye. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness come upon you, for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth." And so it is today. And the bedrock of free society may only be upheld by the light of sacrifice, the glow of self-lessness and the wisdom of the few. It is only possible to walk upright and bow to ones own God in a free society, and everyday we worship, labor or relax we have the counsels of another's sacrifice to thank. What Winston Churchill said of the Royal Air Force is true of our veterans and our common Anglo-Saxon heritage, "Never before have so few, done so much, for so many."
Today, the United States stands as a beacon of hope for all humanity, because our nation's revolutionary experiment in democracy has been guarded and ennobled by our veterans' devotion. We Americans and the world can never thank them enough. George Washington said "the willingness which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were Treated and Appreciated by their nation." George Washington said it well and we respect those words.
On November 11, 1918, at 11 AM, the eleventh hours of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Armistice was signed which ended the First World War Thereafter, November 11 was celebrated as Armistice Day. After World War II, that date became known as Veterans Day and we are proud on that date and every day to honor all who served and are serving our Country.
Over the course of our history, some 41 million Americans have served--and more than one million have given the supreme sacrifice--so that we and future generations of Americans might live in freedom. We are the beneficiaries of their courage, their sacrifice and their dedication; and so are countless of freedom-loving people around the world.
In the past century alone, through two world wars and the long, tense struggles of the Cold War, and on the front lines in Korea, Vietnam, Beirut, Grenada, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, the Persian Gulf, the Balkans and Iraq, our brave men and women in uniform have risked their lives. They risked all they had to protect U.S. interests, assist our allies, promote peace, and advance our ideals. They fought our enemies on foreign shores, at sea and in the air to preserve freedom. They had no second thoughts as to what had to be done. Thanks to their extraordinary record of brilliant service, more people now live under freedom and democratic rule than at any other time in history. And today, America is a stronger Nation in a more secure world because of our veterans and truly because of those who are currently serving in the Armed Forces of our Country. They are indeed bright, schooled and courageous men and women!
President Kennedy once said, "Democracy is never a final achievement. It is a call to untiring effort, to continual sacrifice and to the willingness, if necessary, to die in its defense." We give thanks to the veterans and to the current members of our Armed Forces for showing that willingness. Whether serving on bases and in ports at home or deployed across the globe, they have endured hardship and danger to protect our Nation and to assist freedom loving people around the world. Their deeds of commitment and valor bind us in our past, inspire us in the present, and strengthen us to meet the challenges of the future. And that is how we see it FROM OUR PERSPECTIVE.