For the last century, we have honored the service and sacrifice of our Veterans on November 11. When the cannons of World War One were silenced, we thought we had fought the “war to end all wars,” but as history proved, we still need our Soldiers.
This year celebrate the strength, courage and dedication of our Veterans, who not only wielded the hammer of conflict, but also shaped the world for lasting peace.
The actions of our Veterans will endure in the pages of history. We remember their gallantry on the battlefield and we must look at the lasting legacy of strength and service they bring with them when they return home.
Our Veterans, are Soldiers for life. During their careers and their lives, they continue to improve their skills, ensuring they remain strong for themselves, their families, their communities and their nation.
It takes a profound strength to wear this nation’s uniform. Though one day they remove this uniform, no amount of time can sever the thread uniting Veterans in a unique and everlasting bond.
The uniform has changed many times in the last 237 years. What hasn’t changed has been the determination and strength of the men and women willing to serve this nation.
The image of a Veteran, however, has changed. Almost half of those serving in the military are between 22 and 30 years old. Now, America has the largest population of young Veterans since the Vietnam War.
As we near the conclusion of combat operations in Afghanistan, the Army will get smaller over the next five years. More than 130,000 Soldiers will leave the Army this year, and more than 500,000 by 2017.
As they follow in the footsteps of the men and women who served in the Army and then served in their communities, they bring with them the uncommon and unwavering strength common in our Veterans.
These men and women are willing to toil and sacrifice for the small band of brothers who stand unwavering to their left and right. They draw their courage from the well-spring of our history and from the legacy of strength they have inherited from those that marched tirelessly before them.
These Soldiers – our Veterans – don’t see themselves as being brave or special; they just say they’re doing their jobs.
Since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, almost three million American men and women have answered our nation’s call to arms. Now, after 11 years of war, more that 1.3 million service men and women, who deployed overseas have returned to our communities.
On Veterans Day the world stops in silence to pay tribute to the heroes of the battlefield who never see themselves as heroes. We owe Veterans more than our silence, our memories, and our thanks.
President Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”