Thursday, November 11, 2010
To The Men and Women Who Serve in the United States Armed Forces
November 11, 1919: President Wilson proclaims the first Armistice Day with the following words: "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." The original concept for the celebration was for the suspension of business for a two minute period beginning at 11 A.M., with the day also marked by parades and public meetings.
On June 1, 1954, President Eisenhower signs legislation changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteran's Day. (from The History of Veterans Day)
To the Men and Women who serve in the US Armed Forces:
I will not pretend I know the infinite different reasons why you made the decision to join the US Military.
I can only imagine what your basic training was like (I'm not even sure the movies do any justice).
I will not pretend to know the feeling of being away from family, friends and all of the comforts of home, having been assigned to a foreign land, serving the interests of our country.
I will not say that I necessarily agree with ALL of the reasons why our country has gone to war.
I will not pretend to know what it is like out in the battlefields, not knowing if I was going to live to see another day.
But I will say this.
Thank you all for your service to our country.
Thank you for the sacrifices you made so that we can continue to live with the freedoms that we enjoy.
Your courage is nothing if not inspiring. Your stories become tales of legend that deserve to be told again and again.
For these, and countless other reasons, I give you my respect.
And I give you thanks.