Across this great country and throughout the world Americans will pause this Friday morning, to honor our brave fighting men and women who have answered the call to service — whether they live in honor among us, or sleep in valor beneath the ground.
Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, when on November 11, 1921, the remains of an unknown World War I American soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, in recognition of WWI veterans and the official cessation of WWI hostilities “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918. In 1954, Congress, wanting to recognize the sacrifice of veterans since WWI, proposed to change Armistice Day to Veterans Day in their honor.
Veterans Day is a time we set aside to remember, to honor and to pay respect to our nation’s uniformed Patriots — American Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coastguardsmen — who have, and continue to stand in harm’s way that we might live in peace.
Throughout this Nation’s history, our servicemembers have bravely answered the call to defend our freedom, to aid our friends and allies, and to turn back aggressors.
Roughly 1 percent of our population serves in the military. And as we consider the impact those individuals have had on the world, defending freedom and protecting democracy, we are reminded of the words of Winston Churchill, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”
We can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to the almost 1.2 million American servicemembers who have died in battle or the 1.4 million who were wounded. We can, however, recognize and thank the 25 million veterans still living today.
As we raise our flags today we must remember that the men and women in the Armed Forces of the United States serve a great cause. They have fought our wars, defended our shores and kept us free. We must heed the words of our first Commander- in-Chief, General George Washington who said in 1798, “The willingness with which our young people will fight 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 country.”
On this Veterans Day, we honor veterans and we honor their families, and we offer the thanks of a grateful nation. May God bless our veterans, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.