I have great respect for veterans and what they have sacrificed so I may enjoy the freedoms I’ve always had.
I haven’t served in the military. Trust me, you wouldn’t want me in the foxhole next to you. So, this year for Veterans Day, I’m allowing a more appropriate person to express my appreciation.
This is part of a Gen. Colin Powell speech on Veterans Day, 1989 at Arlington National Cemetery.
“I can think of no place I, as a soldier, and as an American citizen, and as a fellow veteran would rather be today than at this ceremony. And there is no more appropriate place to celebrate veterans day than here in Arlington National Cemetery in the silent, honored presence of those veterans who gave their last measure of devotion to their nation.
“Their sacrifice in the name of peace and freedom have made this nation what it is today. By their sacrifice, they give us our strength, our vibrancy. We the living must ensure that their sacrifice was not in vain.
“The nation owes a great debt to its veterans, whose service to the nation spans every decade, every year, every day of our country’s existence. Through untold courage and sacrifice, America’s veterans have secured the liberty which the founding fathers sought to establish here in the new world. Whenever and wherever the nation has called -- in times of darkness and danger as well as in times of peace and prosperity -- America’s veterans have been there. Veterans have proudly carried the torch of liberty for all to see.
“It is both fitting and proper that we meet here at Arlington National Cemetery. This hallowed ground was dedicated in 1864 at the height of one of America’s most costly wars. Private William Christman of Company G, 67th Pennsylvania Infantry was the first veteran to be buried here.
“Since that time, Arlington has become the final resting place for so many of America’s veterans who have been willing to risk all so that others might continue to live in freedom.
“Beyond this place, in the military cemetery above the Normandy beaches, in the Punchbowl in Hawaii, on the island of Corregidor, and in thousands of churchyards across this great land of ours lie at peace many more veterans who died for their country in the uniform of the armed forces.
“And on many another forgotten field across the face of this earth, lie thousands of other American veterans whose names are known but to God. Their names may not be known to us, but their sacrifices will never be forgotten. Never.
“John F. Kennedy once said that ‘a nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.’
“As we remember and honor the 214,000 American veterans buried here at Arlington and the 27 million living American veterans and their families, so too can we rededicate ourselves to the values for which they served. Their devotion to the ideals of peace and freedom should inspire us, just as we must inspire the next generation of Americans.”
Thanks to the veterans and their families for their service.