Today is a day when we take time to honor the men and women who serve, and have served, this nation in the Armed Forces. Especially in the wake of last week’s shooting at Fort Hood, I urge our readers to take a moment today to thank, pray for, or encourage someone you know who has served.
These brave folks make sacrifices every day, face challenges that most of us could never comprehend, and live with the constant reminder that they may one day be called to give their lives to protect this nation. They deserve our admiration and our respect. It is one of the great honors of my life that, over the past seven years, I have had the opportunity to serve alongside many of these fine individuals. While you might not pick many of these folks out as members of the military if you saw them on the street, their humility and sense of duty is what sets them apart once you meet them. I am proud to know them and prouder still to call them friends.
It is appropriate today that, after the heat of a hard-fought election has cooled off, all Americans, be they Republicans, Democrats or Independents, stand together and say thank you to those who grant us the freedom to enjoy such contests and to resolve our political differences peacefully. In that spirit, I’ll leave this thread open for your “Thank You’s” and close with the words of a past Commander-in-Chief, which seem particularly appropriate now:
We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
This much we pledge—and more.
-President John F. Kennedy; Inaugural Address; January 20, 1961