The fields are quiet now, filled with the colors of fall and the remembrances’ of summer. They are wide and vast, narrow and rocky, or covered with sand and dust. They may be in Mexico, or Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Mississippi. They can be found in France, Germany, Norway, North Africa, the Pacific Islands, the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, or a hundred other places.
On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month we pause to remember the sacrifices made on our behalf by a group of youth, for that is what they always are, so that the youngest, the oldest, the weakest and the rest of us can live our lives and continue our society.
Politicians will speak of their bravery, their ideals, and their sacrifice for the nation. These young men and woman did not always have a choice, but when the order was given they did their best, and for too many gave their lives for their friends and companions, and in turn their nation.
Not all died in the grit of battle. Oh so many have come home bearing both the outward and inner scars of combat. We see them among us today. Sometimes, in the past, we have meanly cast them aside, for they serve as a painful reminder of something we would choose to forget. Other times we had thought a parade was enough. It seems now we are learning, ever so slowly, we are not so different than them, if we are to heal we must support them as they again become us. We remember our Veterans on this November day, as other Western nations remember theirs.
I hope someday we will only remember the soldiers, sailors, airman and marines of generations long ago, for we will have found a way to put war behind us. Sadly for me, I’ll not be here to remember those ancient times.
To the men I have flown with into harms way, to the brothers I left in Iran, the men and woman who shared our conflict in Iraq, and for those today who carry the shield of our nation to wherever the President sends them, I offer my thanks, my prayers and my loyalty. You will forever be remembered for your courage and your sacrifice; you will not be forgotten.