As a nation, we have prospered because we’ve always had citizens willing to stand up and answer the call to serve in hours of need. Our national resolve has been expressed by the millions who have worn the military uniform. Today, we honor our veterans, past and present, for their unyielding sacrifice and dedication to our great nation. Amvets.org
Mark talked about the sacrifice and dedication that is required and recognized by veterans and active duty servicemen and women. We firmly believe in Duty, Honor, and Country. Today, too many of our citizens hear these words and find themselves wondering how the military can say them without awkwardness. We can because they are very real when you live through the life-altering experiences we go through. It is a different calling that is hard to express in words to others who have not experienced it. But there are others who understand: policemen, firefighters, defense workers, medical trauma personnel, and, above all, our family members.
As a proud veteran, I want to thank the supporters of our soldiers, marines, sailors and airmen, without whom our missions would fail. There are many government employees and civilian contractors working in support of the Department of Defense who have served alongside soldiers, especially in the two current actions/conflicts/wars (depending on your view) and many have been killed or wounded. They have worked countless hours to provide products and services that keep our military equipped and ready. They may not wear a uniform, but their contribution is vital to the success of the uniformed services.
And, most importantly, I give thanks to the families of active duty soldiers and veterans. Family Support Groups are found with every Army unit and are an indespensible part of today's military force.
As a soldier, I relied on my family more than they could ever know. My wife lived in one house for almost her entire life before she married me. Within 24 hours of marrying me, she was on her way to the opposite side of the country. We never lived closer than 2,400 miles to her family until my last assignment. She gave up having a career for many years and often had to handle the home front on her own while I was in the field or on away missions. Military duties kept me away from the birth of two of my three children.
We weren't together for many birthdays, anniversaries and holidays.
My children have been dragged all over the world, and we moved often. In the span of one year, they lived in Alaska, Arizona, Virginia, and Germany. My family has had to move our entire household without my assistance because I was off on a temporary duty in another country. Military families are an indespensible part of today's military force.
Military folks know the stress a family endures, but can't focus on it because they are preoccupied with the mission. I learned first-hand how hard their lot is when my son deployed to Iraq, and I was the one left behind. The worry and stress is greater on the family who is helpless to protect their military sons and daughters. Knowing the exact dangers he faced made the wait for his return even more difficult. And I was one of the lucky ones who saw my soldier return uninjured.
Thanks to all of you who have supported the veterans you know, today and every day. On Veterans Day, we mostly endure the attention we receive, not because we don't appreciate it, but it is not what we seek. We appreciate the parades. But we need the real, daily support we get from our fellow defense workers. And nothing can replace the constant support and love we receive from our family members to keep us motivated to serve our country.
Thanks again for supporting veterans on their day. We salute all of you. Hooah!