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Veterans Day celebrates strength, courage

Published: 02:55PM November 8th, 2012

Whether you’ve served a day or a lifetime, thank you!

This Sunday, while many of us are enjoying the long holiday weekend and taking in some of the great local events and activities associated with honoring our veterans, I ask that all of you take a moment to remember the numerous sacrifices our veterans, past and present, have made so that we can enjoy the liberties and freedoms we have today.

On this Veterans Day, my sincere and heartfelt gratitude goes out to you, whether you’ve spent 10 years in and deployed five times or just arrived at your first duty station from Advanced Individual Training. It’s the same whether you’re preparing to retire after more than 20 years of dedicated service or choose to leave the Army at the end of your first term. Your duty and selfless service demonstrate a deep commitment to the ideals we hold so dear in America. Your friends are grateful, your families are grateful, and the people of this country are grateful for all that you do and have sacrificed.

A Soldier is a Soldier for life!

We’re all joined together by our individual commitments to protect the freedoms of others, even if that means we don’t always get to enjoy those freedoms ourselves — to do what our nation asks of us without question, even if that means we have to put the parts of our lives we love most on hold.

Never has this nation asked so much of its military men and women as it has over the last 11 years of war, during which you’ve left your families and loved ones on the homefront alone — some of you several times — and faced unconventional enemies in some of the most unforgiving environments to be found.

Over the last several years, we’ve watched more and more of our youngest Soldiers proudly displaying combat patches on their right shoulders.

Today, the Soldiers of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and their families have and continue to sacrifice so much. This base has remained one of the most deployed installations in the U.S. for years. Even after the majority of our forces have left Afghanistan, the effects of the sacrifices made to meet those demands will not be forgotten.

A Soldier is a Soldier for life!

So know that when I speak to the men and women who have served in our current generation’s conflicts, I also speak just as whole-heartedly to those of you who have served in years past, even if your Army service, however long it lasted, is decades behind you.

When you joined the Army, you joined a team – plain and simple – whether you joined in 1957 or 2007. And the Army remains committed to your lifelong well-being and success, whether the concern is mental health or a physical wound – employment or a college education.

For what you have given up, just by raising your right hand and swearing to defend the Constitution, you can never truly be fully repaid, nor can your families. They have given up just as much in their support of you.

A Soldier is a Soldier for life!

This weekend is a celebration of strength, courage and dedication of our veterans. On Veterans Day, the world stops in silence to pay tribute to the heroes who, on and off the battlefield, gave their all for freedom and liberty. President John F. Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

So thank you. It takes a profound strength to wear this nation’s uniform and even though you will remove this uniform one day, no amount of time nor strife can sever the fabric that binds veterans in a unique and everlasting bond.

A Soldier is a Soldier for life!