Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans Day 2009

It's raining, windy and gray in Greensboro this morning, somber weather for an especially sad Veterans Day. This year's remembrance occurs with battles in Afghanistan growing bloodier, with troops still serving in large numbers in Iraq, and in the wake of the senseless tragedy at Ft. Hood.

A memorial service was held yesterday at Ft. Hood. The President attended and gave a wonderful speech that focused less on the terrible violence and more on the lives and contributions of the troops themselves.
Your loved ones endure through the life of our nation. Their memory will be honored in the places they lived and by the people they touched. Their life's work is our security, and the freedom that we all too often take for granted. Every evening that the sun sets on a tranquil town; every dawn that a flag is unfurled; every moment that an American enjoys life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness -- that is their legacy.
Later in the speech, he linked the sacrifices of the Ft. Hood victims with a more general charge for Veterans Day.
It's a chance to pause, and to pay tribute -- for students to learn the struggles that preceded them; for families to honor the service of parents and grandparents; for citizens to reflect upon the sacrifices that have been made in pursuit of a more perfect union.

For history is filled with heroes. You may remember the stories of a grandfather who marched across Europe; an uncle who fought in Vietnam; a sister who served in the Gulf. But as we honor the many generations who have served, all of us -- every single American -- must acknowledge that this generation has more than proved itself the equal of those who've come before.

We need not look to the past for greatness, because it is before our very eyes.

This generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have volunteered in the time of certain danger. They are part of the finest fighting force that the world has ever known. They have served tour after tour of duty in distant, different and difficult places. They have stood watch in blinding deserts and on snowy mountains. They have extended the opportunity of self-government to peoples that have suffered tyranny and war. They are man and woman; white, black, and brown; of all faiths and all stations -- all Americans, serving together to protect our people, while giving others half a world away the chance to lead a better life.
If you have the time, I encourage you to read the speech in its entirety.