David Condon, Mayor, No Phone Number Available
Tuesday, November 12, 2013 at 11:30 a.m.
Our county has a long history of standing of for what we believe in. In fact, the United States of America were founded on that very premise.
Veterans here today and others before them have proudly carried that mantle. You and others in your footsteps have stepped up for a belief in this country, its history and its future.
21 million American veterans are alive in our nation today. 21 million people who have vowed to defend and protect this nation at all costs.
Over the past 237 years, our nation has remained the land of the free because of the brave.
Since 1919, we have joined together as civilians on this day to say “thank you” to the men and women who gave so much to protect and preserve a liberty we sometimes take for granted. And while our nation may be young, it is strong, it is faithful and the cry of its heart has not faltered.
In the early 1930's President Roosevelt reminded us of the value of allegiance. He said, “Americanism is a question of principle, of idealism, of character: it is not a matter of birthplace or creed or line of decent.”
He continued: “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live.”
At Arlington National Cemetery in 1961 President John F. Kennedy took the same opportunity to recognize those who sacrificed to ensure that liberty remained a reality in the “land of the free.” He said: “We celebrate this Veterans Day for a very few minutes, a few seconds of silence and then this country's life goes on. But I think it most appropriate that we recall on this occasion, and on every other moment when we are faced with great responsibilities, the contribution and the sacrifice which so many men and their families have made in order to permit this country to now occupy its present position of responsibility and freedom, and in order to permit us to gather here together”
In 1985, more than 20 years later, President Reagan took the very same stage to salute our heroes:
“We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.”
These sentiments are just as true today as they were 30, 50 and 80 years ago. Courageous men and women still answer the call to defend the freedoms we all enjoy. Willingly they leave their families and their dreams behind to meet the need of a nation only as free as its people are brave.
Each took an oath, pledging: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
These words have rung in the ears of young men and women hiding out on cold winter nights. They have crippled mothers who know not how to juggle helplessness and pride; and they have been the initiators of great pain and loss. But one thing time has not changed. The men and women who have said them have honored them, laying down their lives if necessary, and they are the reason that this nation still stands and that liberty still exists.
In our community last year we grieved for 3 brave Air Force Service Members who paid the ultimate sacrifice and honored another who ran toward danger when his nation called. Sgt. Ty Carter represents the heart of service humbly stating that his act was the fulfillment of a duty not of heroism. His grace and his professionalism represent well the values of our Armed Forces and should long serve as a witness to a people in desperate need of something to believe in.
When Sgt. Carter speaks I hear the voice of so many other service members. I hear men and women I worked with during my time in the Army and I hear the heart of those at Fairchild I've been fortunate to know.
Many of you here today have lost loved ones and friends in this fight for freedom. Many of you have yet to feel the true gratitude of a people eternally indebted to your sacrifice.
But truly, veterans are the heartbeat of this nation, a nation that would not be standing without their sacrifice, their loved one's sacrifice, in the fight for good.
Good will win. This nation will stand and its people will remain free because the brave, 237 years later, are still proud to call it home, to fight for it, and to die for it.
Just an hour ago I was sitting around a table with some of our community's World War II Veterans listening to the ways they've continually invested in our community and our nation.
The sacrifice that so many of you made to defend this nation will never be in vain because other young men and women have stepped up to answer the same call and defend her still today. A history, a culture of heroes exists in our community like it does nowhere else in the world. And that is one of so many reasons that I am proud to call this place home. And I am eternally humbled by the sacrifice that you have made whether to fight, to serve, or to support.
President Kennedy closed his speech imploring the civilian ranks to live a life of gratitude “never forgetting that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” And I will do the same.
So on behalf of the citizens of our community, and as one very proud American, I say thank you today and every day to all of you for your grace, your passion and your sacrifice. And I vow to you, as you vowed to defend the Constitution of the United States of America that we as a community will appreciate the liberties that it affords and live accordingly.
We salute this nation, we salute you and we pledge allegiance to a flag that represents freedom, liberty, unity, and justice – and a nation that will never stand for anything less.
In President Bush's address to our nation 22 years ago, he said: “Know that you have your country's gratitude on Veterans Day and every day of the year. And may God Bless America and the veterans who keep her free.”
And I'll drive the point home, through a historical look at our nation's allegiance, Americans will never stop being thankful. Just this morning, President Obama drew attention to that fact when said: “Under the most demanding of circumstances and in the most dangerous corners of the earth, America's veterans have served with distinction. With courage, self-sacrifice, and devotion to our Nation and to one another, they represent the American character at its best. On Veterans Day and every day, we celebrate their immeasurable contributions, draw inspiration from their example, and renew our commitment to showing them the fullest support of a grateful Nation.”