Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Honoring our Vets

In 1918, the "Great War" ended with an armistice at the 11th hour of the 11th day of November. A year later, United States President Woodrow Wilson commemorated the first anniversary of this event with the following proclamation:

"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…"

In 1954, President Eisenhower signed legislation into law changing "Armistice Day" to what we now celebrate as "Veteran's Day." This National holiday serves as an annual remembrance of the sacrifices of our Nation's veterans and their contributions to our current peace and prosperity.

Today, despite the challenges of ongoing wars, and amid the sorrow and heartbreak that we share with the Soldiers and families at Fort Hood, Texas, we pause again to honor those who have served. We thank them for their willingness to put their country above self, to subordinate personal comfort to the cause of freedom, and to serve in the defense of those who often cannot defend themselves. We honor the brave men and women -- and their families -- who have given so much, who have written our history, who have enabled the success which we now enjoy. We honor and thank our Veterans.

I saw the sacrifice of another generation when I walked the battlefield on which my Father had fought in Viet Nam almost 40 years ago. Together with my brothers, we gained an appreciation for the difficulties of a foreign land, a hostile enemy, and a ridiculously challenging climate (hot + humid...UGH!). I saw the sacrifices of the "Greatest Generation" when I followed the trails of the Battle of the Bulge in Eastern France and Luxembourg. And we've all seen the sacrifices of today's generation on difficult battlefields in Iraq, and Afghanistan. The word that unites them all -- sacrifice -- is the source of our pride and admiration.

Today, our Veteran's still need our thanks. They deserve our fullest support for quality education and medical programs. They deserve our consideration for employment and contracting opportunities. And their families equally deserve our appreciation for their sacrifices in support of their loved ones!

Thanks to our Vets! Would you all join me in remembering the sacrifices of those who have worn the uniform and, in some cases, made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of liberty. Would you thank the vets you work with or who you pass on the street? Would you honor them for their service? That's the reason this day is special and why President Wilson said our reflections should be filled with solemn pride. And that is...Leader Business!

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