We set aside today to honor those who have sacrificed to provide our freedom. Wherever liberty is threatened, wherever tyranny rules, wherever disaster strikes, they are the ones the whole world counts on for assistance. They are willing to sacrifice their very lives as so many have already. Since the American Revolution began in 1775, over 1 million service members have lost their lives during military operations and wars. Another 1.5 million have been wounded while serving and over 38,000 are missing.
Today there are nearly 1.5 million men & women actively serving at more than 820 locations in over 135 countries. They come from every walk of life, every state in our great nation, every circumstance, every race, religion and creed. They are male and female, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers. They are our family and our friends. They are officer and enlisted, active duty and reservist. They guard a post, stand a watch, and they storm a beach. They are ever vigilant - protecting innocent men, women & children from tyranny and disaster the world over. They are always on call, any time of the day or night; often working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week forgoing warm beds, hot meals, and creature comforts. They are paid so little and yet they provide so much.
They are the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines and the Coast Guard. Together, they are the United States Armed Forces, the greatest military force on earth.
To all who have served, thank you for the sacrifices you've made on our behalf. To the families, we know you sacrifice, support and serve also and we thank you. To those whose loved ones have made the ultimate sacrifice, your loved one has not died in vain and shall never be forgotten. Our words are inadequate to express our deepest sympathies and unending gratitude. To every POW and MIA, we shall search without ceasing and not rest until you all return home.
To all of you actively serving today, may God bless you, guide you, protect you and keep you safe from harm until you return at last to your loved ones.
To everyone who has ever served, you are forever in our hearts, our thoughts and our prayers. You honor us with your service and we are proud to be forever under obligation to you.
Lastly, to my own dear grandfather, a World War II Veteran whose journey on earth came to an end just over a year ago, I wish you a very special happy birthday. You are deeply loved and deeply missed.