Friday, November 11, 2011 Veterans Day!
Yes, It’s time to remember our Veterans. For all you have done for us… for all you are doing for us… And for all you will do for us… THANK YOU! Can’t say much more then that. Except…
Here is a great speech about…
The speech begins with a moment of silence.
It’s not very often that a speaker begins with silence. It’s uncomfortable. It’s forced, and we often don’t know what to do with silence.
World War I, the Great War, the War to End all Wars, shook the nations of the world for four years, claiming 20 million lives. The Armistice was signed on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and since then nations commemorate that event with a moment of silence.
This day is observed around the world and has many names – Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, Veterans Day, and the Day of Peace. It once was a celebration of the silencing of the cannons of World War I and is now a day when nations around the world pause in a moment of silence with solemn pride in the remembrance of the heroism of those who have served, those who are currently serving and those who died in our country’s service.
We don’t mark this day each year as a celebration of victory, as proud of that victory as we are. We mark this day as a celebration of those who made victory possible. It’s a day we keep in our minds the brave men and women of this young nation – generations of them – who, above all else, believed in and fought for a set of ideals.
They chose to serve the cause that is greater than self; many even after they knew they’d be sent into harm’s way. And in this time of persistent conflict, for the better part of a decade, they have endured tour after tour in distant and difficult places; they have protected us from danger; and they have given others the opportunity for a better life.
So to all of them – to our veterans, to the fallen and to their families – there is no tribute, no commemoration, no praise that can truly match the magnitude of your service and your sacrifice. We can offer this humble moment of silence.
Silence does not come naturally to America. We are loud and busy – constantly moving. We celebrate with fireworks, concerts, parties, picnics, songs and parades. It is not in our nature to be still or to be silent. You see, silence is something we struggle with.
Our world is not a silent world. It is not a peaceful world, either. Just as we struggle to be silent, to be still, for a moment, our world struggles with war, strife, injustice, hunger, disease and destruction, and it cries out in need. Our service members heeded the call, the cries of world. They did not sit back in silence, but stood against a chaotic world to bring peace.
A life of service is anything but peaceful. From the sound of reveille to the blowing of “taps,” their lives are in constant motion. The days are filled with the sounds of a drill sergeant’s voice, rifles at the training range, trucks, ships, submarines, helicopters, jets, tanks, mortars and cadences. It is also filled with the sounds of their children laughing, their spouses and their friends. When they deploy, the day could be filled with other sounds that linger long after the soldier returns. No, a life of service is not silent.
Their lives are busy and noisy, but no one knows silence like a military family. They know a silence like no other – the silence that remains when a son or daughter goes off to boot camp, or the lingering silence when a father or mother deploys, or the deafening silence when the flag is handed to a grieving loved one. Their silence is profound and is a living testament to their service to their loved ones.
Silence today is rare. Like soldiers on a battlefield, we are bombarded from all directions with noise. Some people avoid the emptiness of silence and seek to fill its void with voices and sound. Some see silence as inaction, but this silence today is a silence full of meaning, message and purpose.
Silence, like sleep, has a way of healing our spirits. This silence gives us pause from our hectic lives to remember and to find a healing peace in our remembrance of the soldiers of the past. In this silence, we open our spirits to feel the depth of their service and sacrifice, and we honor them by silencing our own personal cannons to give them the full measure of our respect.
We call this a holiday. But for many veterans, it’s another day of memories that drive them to live their lives each day the best they possibly can. For our troops, it is another day in harm’s way. For their families, it is another day to feel the absence of a loved one, and the concern for their safety. For our wounded warriors, it is another day of slow and arduous recovery. And for others, it is another day when the grief of loss remains fresh.
The resilience of our soldiers and their families never fails to amaze me. We are working to help the soldiers and families who face the physical and psychological struggles of multiple deployments to become and remain balanced, healthy and self-confident. They represent the best of America. Our Army family is strong, and the Army is seeking to adapt its institutions, modernize the force and build resilience to maintain our combat edge as the strongest fighting force the world knows. This is the best way the Army honors their service.
Ladies and gentlemen, I ask you for a brief moment of silence to honor all the moments, days and years that our veterans and their families have served and sacrificed for our nation.
Veterans, both past and current, I ask you to stand.
We remember the brave men and women who have served in places such as Gettysburg, Shiloh, Appomattox, San Juan Hill, the trenches of France, the Argonne Forest, Anzio, Rome, the beaches of Normandy, the deserts of Africa, the cane fields of the Philippines, the rice paddies and jungles of Guam, Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Somalia, Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Let us remember those who are deployed in service to their country. Let us remember those who, because they paid the ultimate sacrifice, cannot be with us today.
In our moment of silence, we lift our thoughts, gratitude and prayers to our veterans. Lift your spirits to their families, and speak with your silence.
Ladies and gentlemen, please stand with our veterans.
So while it is important and proper that we mark this day with a humble silence, it is far more important we spend all our days rejoicing in their service and reminding ourselves that because of our veterans our country still stands; our founding principles still shine; nations around the world that once knew nothing but fear now know the blessings of freedom.
To you, veterans, we say, “Thank you.”
“Freedom is never free.” -Author Unknown
“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” -Maya Angelou
“When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?” -George Canning
“Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” -G.K. Chesterton
“This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” -Elmer Davis
“But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, Is their monument to-day, and for aye.” -Thomas Dunn English
“I think there is one higher office than president and I would call that patriot.” -Gary Hart
“Lord, bid war’s trumpet cease; Fold the whole earth in peace.” -Oliver Wendell Holmes
“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to just utter words, but to live by them.” -John Fitzgerald Kennedy
“The most persistent sound which reverberates through men’s history is the beating of war drums.” -Arthur Koestler
“I dream of giving birth to a child who will ask, ‘Mother, what was war?'” -Eve Merriam
“Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.” -Michel de Montaigne
“In war, there are no unwounded soldiers.” -Jose Narosky
“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” -Cynthia Ozick
“The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war.” -Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit