The willingness with 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
Throughout the history of United States, Americans have been slow to go to war. Yet in many generations, this nation has decided that things like freedom are worth fighting for – although that decision has rarely been unanimous.
The men and women who stand on the front lines of those battles are members of this country’s armed forces, and those who are fortunate enough to return home become our veterans. On this day, a grateful nation pauses in appreciation and respect. Those observances are made even more significant by the fact that thousands of our own citizens are experiencing firsthand what the price of securing freedom can be in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, to mention two.
Those who are serving today stand on the shoulders of a vast company of others who also wore the uniforms and fought the battles of other eras. If they did not see the horrors of war, they were nevertheless prepared to engage in it if necessary, and that preparedness helped prevent many hostilities which otherwise might have come.
Veterans Day is a time to honor all service men and women, those who came back home and resumed their civilian lives as well as those who died while in service to this country.
All Americans who live and work under the freedoms which they have won and secure for us have a duty to reflect on the great contingent of which today’s military is a part and the legacy which it inherits. They shouldered the burden of winning peace for their families our ours.
Veterans have given us a great gift, and they continue giving. We never know where the next threat will originate, as the tragedy in Fort Hood last week illustrates. For being prepared to meet it, then and now, we remember… and are thankful.