Veterans Day Speech

November 11, 2019

What is a veteran?
A veteran is a fellow citizen; an ordinary person who at one significant point in his or her life made out a blank check payable to The United States of America for any amount up to and including life, itself. A veteran is any man or woman that has taken the U.S. Military Oath of enlistment and honorable served their country in peacetime or war..

Make no mistake:
Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg – or perhaps another sort of inner turmoil.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem.

You can’t tell a vet just by looking.

He is the cop on the street who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel.

She – or he – is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang, Vietnam.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another – or didn’t come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat – but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs.

He is the parade – riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the deep ocean.

She is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being – a person who offered some of her life’s most vital years in the service of her country, and who sacrificed her ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

They have made the country you live in possible. They have brought hope to a world historically plagued by fanatics and hatred in desperate poverty. And they have done this at the risk of their own safety, sanity and future without asking you for one thing in return.

That’s what veterans have done for you. Now let me ask you a question: What have you done for our veterans?

Why veterans served — Those who serve do so not for glory, or power, or wealth, but for freedom, and that the simple recognition of service well performed — a sincere thank you — means more to most Veterans than any other reward. Remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, be patient with them, as you never know what they have been through in their lives. Just lean over and say Thank You. That’s all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded.

Two little words that mean a lot, “THANK YOU”.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag.”

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