Veterans Day Message
November 11, 2010
As our men and women in uniform remain overseas defending our nation against terrorism, I am reminded of the proud soldiers who have served our nation throughout history, and to whom we as a nation owe a great debt. On this Veterans Day, I want to extend my warmest wishes to the men and women who have protected the United States and defended the freedoms and liberties that we cherish.
Veterans Day had a unique and special development in American history. Its origins can be traced back to November 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson declared November 11 as “Armistice Day,” a day dedicated to the end of warfare on the Western Front. President Wilson stated at that time: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…” Armistice Day was observed with parades and public activities throughout the nation.
Following the end of World War II, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a law recognizing November 11 as a day honoring American veterans of all wars, a day now commonly known, and referred to, as Veterans Day. America was finally able to realize the dream of recognition for those brave men and women who served our country during all of the greatest tests of American courage and strength.
Regardless of where and when they served and for how long, every American who has worn the uniform is entitled to our gratitude for their sacrifice and commitment. While they deserve our appreciation year-round, Veterans Day is the perfect day to recognize their contribution. We must also not forget to thank the men and women whose comforting hands and compassionate hearts care for the service men and women of our nation. Each day, their service honors our veterans.
I served at a different time. I did not serve in Viet Nam, but I served during that war. We were not able to wear our uniforms in the general public and while flying home on leave. Those who did were often spat upon. Because of that, whenever I see a service member in the airport or on a plane I quietly say, “Thank you.” I hope you will do the same.
As I begin to close my office, and take down my favorite picture above my desk, a photo of a devoted soldier, I ask that you consider on this Veterans Day your friends, family and neighbors who have served our country, and thank them for their service. Whether you will be attending a parade, visiting a veteran in a VA hospital, writing a letter or sending a care package to a loved one or troop stationed overseas, or simply saying “thank you” to one of the many veterans in your community, you will be doing your part to honor and recognize those who have sacrificed their lives for America throughout its history.
God bless our service men and women, and their families, and God bless America.