We’re here today to honor our service members and to remember their
sacrifices they have made and the courage it takes to defend and honor our
When Francis Scott Key wrote the “Star Spangled Banner” almost 200 years
ago, he called America, “the land of the free and the home of the brave.”
Those words are as true today as they were then.
Throughout this Nation’s history, America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines
and coastguard have bravely answered the call to defend our freedom, to aid
our friends and allies, and to turn back aggressors.
We can never fully repay our debt of gratitude to the more than 650,000
American service members who died in battle or the 1.4 million who were
wounded. We can, however, recognize and thank the 25 million veterans still
These words are inscribed on the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C.:
“Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a
country they never knew and a people they never met.”
Those words apply equally to many of
our World War I, World War II, Vietnam
War, Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq veterans as well. This applies to today’s
active duty service members — tomorrow’s veterans — who are helping to
maintain peace throughout the world.
Today, it is our privilege to say “thank you” to all of America’s veterans, to let
them know that we appreciate them for their service and honor them for their
The price of freedom is high. We cannot afford to forget those willing to pay
Today, we celebrate America’s veterans for keeping this Nation “the land of
the free and the home of the brave.”
President Lincoln said
“We walk not for ourselves,” “But those who have marched for us.”
Whether it’s a physical walk or another gesture of appreciation, we must
always remember that each veteran represents an oath taken that included a
willingness to die for this country if called upon.
It is what President Lincoln characterized as “the last full measure of
Whenever we hear a politician rail about the high cost of veterans’ benefits, it
is up to us to remind the critic about the high cost of being a veteran.
It is a cost of– blood, sweat, and sacrifice – that has produced and protected
the greatest nation on earth.
In conclusion, I say
"God bless you all for being here, God bless our veterans and God bless