November 9, 2012

Veterans Day honors a truly elite group

Gen. Janet Wolfenbarger
Commander, Air Force Materiel Command

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio — Because we are Airmen, and are surrounded by the military on a daily basis, it can sometimes be easy to forget how incredibly significant it is to be a veteran. The approximately 22 million living veterans in this country make up only about 7 percent of the population. And less than 1 percent of Americans actively serve in the military at any time.

Less than 1 percent. That makes the men and women who have volunteered to serve their country in the armed forces members of a truly elite group. Veterans Day is an opportunity to recognize those men and women.

November 11 was originally proclaimed as Armistice Day in 1919 as a commemoration of the armistice that went into effect between the Allied nations and Germany at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month to cease hostilities and bring about the end of World War I. Today, Veterans Day honors all of America’s veterans for their patriotism, service and sacrifice.
Indeed, it is thanks to the sacrifice of those elite few that we continue to enjoy our freedom. Time and again our veterans have stepped up to answer their nation’s call, willing to put their lives on the line to protect and defend America and its citizens. And for that, our veterans are owed a tremendous debt of gratitude and respect.

To all Veterans, I say thank you for your service. May you always be remembered on Veterans Day.

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