Veterans Day is the official United States public holiday, observed annually on November 11, to honor all the men and women who've served our country in uniform. It coincides with other holidays celebrated in other countries that mark the anniversary of the end of World War I. We celebrate veterans from generations past and we thank our future veterans, still serving at home and abroad. Our veterans, past, present, and future are worthy, totally worthy, of all honor, admiration, and celebration
All veterans have a binding thread that only they can know and share. Knowledge that they were part of something larger than themselves. In quiet solitude, there is a single thread that binds veterans. It is an immense pride about being part of something larger than themselves. It is the knowledge of having done much more than most ever do, performed well, took great risks, relied on good people and served a real purpose, by being there. Their contributions have made an impact on the lives of so many.
It is said that security is like oxygen: when you have enough of it, you pay no attention to it. America's service members have long provided the oxygen, the security that allows millions and millions of people, not just in America, but in so much of the world to be safe, to raise their children, to dream their dreams, to live lives that are full, and to leave behind a better world.
Many did not all come home alive, many did not all come home whole, many are not yet home, and we continue to send many back into harm's way. The enormity of their sacrifice, and the sacrifice of their families, is beyond compare. Taking care of them, and their families, is a sacred responsibility we must always uphold.
John F. Kennedy said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." So, it isn't enough to say it – we need to be it. Grateful. Thankful. Appreciative. The greatest prayer you can say is "Thank You." Two words. Eight letters. But weighted with love, gratitude, humility and understanding.
To my Brothers and Sisters, I say "Thank You". Not only for what you have done, but for the rare privilege and distinct honor to be one of you.
I would like to share this passage from President Ronald Reagan from a speech he gave at the Veterans Day Ceremony at the Vietnam Memorial:
"For too long a time, they stood in a chill wind, as if on a winter night's watch. And in that night, their deeds spoke to us, but we knew them not. And their voices called to us, but we heard them not. Yet in this land that God has blessed, the dawn always at last follows the dark, and now morning has come. The night is over. We see these men and know them once again -- and know how much we owe them, how much they have given us, and how much we can never fully repay. And not just as individuals but as a nation, we say we love you and thank you."
To all our veterans – thank you. Thank you for everything you've done for our country. You're among the best our nation has to offer. God bless you and your families, and happy Veterans Day.