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What Does Veterans Day Mean?

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Americans. To those families and especially my parents I thank you for understanding and standing with us. This day belongs to you as well.

The hallmark of being a veteran is service and sacrifice. We meet here today to honor and pay tribute to those who have served and those who continue to serve.

They who serve that we may enjoy the best America has to offer; FREEDOM AND PEACE AT HOME. Those who choose to serve in the ranks of our military do so voluntarily. Some first join to help pay for school. Some join in the pursuit of learning a job skill for when they return to the comfort of home and family. Others join because it was their childhood dream to take up the Profession of Arms. But whatever their reason they all volunteered to provide a necessary service to America and in so doing extended that service to the rest of the world. This service is manifested in providing comfort to our own citizens suffering from the devastation of Katrina two years ago to the current events which unfolded in the wild fires in California. They also brought hope and comfort to peoples of other nations such as the people who suffered in the earthquakes in Pakistan and those areas devastated by the tsunami a few years before. From the deadly beaches at Normandy, to jungle warfare in South Vietnam, the vast deserts of Iraq, or the hillsides of Bosnia-Herzegovina ... the American service men and women have contributed the brunt of the force required to provide sanctuary and hope for the weak and oppressed. Those veterans have answered the nations calling and have done and continue to do so proudly.

If service is the calling then sacrifice is the price our veterans must pay for that service. From the time our Soldiers, ...

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...s in uniform is what this day is all about.

History records the valor of the American Veteran in terms of units and armies and forces, the role of the American Veteran is the story of each individual who accepted the Call of Duty.

This gathering to honor the American Veteran is a tribute to their glory and their devotion to duty.

Veterans are a hearty lot. They serve and sacrifice, and having the honor of wearing the uniform is enough thanks for most of them.

But still, speaking here today on behalf of those who have served and those who continue to do so -- active, Reserve or Guard -- your presence here today, for this event, is indeed appreciated. It is appreciated more than you can know.

What does Veterans Day mean? It comes down to one sentence -- one phrase that you can never hear too often in a democracy: Freedom is not free.

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