Although the elections have wrapped up, political news continues to dominate the headlines. We shouldn’t, however, let this flurry of activity overshadow an important day in the life of our country — Veterans Day.
Americans have always respected and honored its warriors, and we have recognized some form of Veterans Day since the end of World War I. In 1954, in officially designating Nov. 11 as Veterans Day, President Eisenhower described the holiday like this: “let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”
On this 54th anniversary of Veterans Day, we must remember the great debt that we owe veterans and members of the armed services who fight to maintain our freedom around the world. Throughout history, our soldiers have risked their lives to defend our freedom, and we must not forget their sacrifices.
For the state of Arizona, Veterans Day is particularly special because it is home to over 560,000 veterans. Each one has worked to maintain our freedom. Whether as a medic administering aid to a fallen soldier, a soldier rooting out the enemy in a safe house, or a mechanic servicing military equipment, every veteran played an integral role in our military and thus strengthened our nation. Our veterans shouldered this great responsibility with courage, dedication and honor. We, as a nation, cannot forget the countless sacrifices our veterans have made for this country.
As we mark this day, brave men and women in our armed forces continue to fight the war against terrorists. It is important to remember that the troops currently working to defeat the terrorists all volunteered for our nation’s military. Young people today are presented with many opportunities when they begin their careers, and many serving in the military could have chosen a more lucrative career that would not put them in harm’s way or taken them away from their families. This act of selflessness not only underscores the patriotism of our nation, but also highlights the dedication of our nation’s youth. We should be thankful that so many Americans are willing to serve their nation, particularly at such a critical and dangerous time.
The military offers outstanding and motivated students a tremendous array of education benefits. One of the most rewarding educational opportunities is through attendance at one of the military service academies, federally funded institutions that provide a first-class education to young leaders with an excellent student record. The application process is very competitive and requires a nomination from a member of Congress.
In the coming year, Congress will be called upon to preserve care and services to our veterans, as well as to support our men and women who are engaged in the missions abroad. We cannot forget those who have given up so much to fight for our nation, and we will work to ensure that our veterans and soldiers are recognized for their service.
Today, my family and I pay respect to all soldiers who have sacrificed to ensure America remains free, safe, and the symbol of democracy for the world. I am immensely grateful to all who have served this great nation.