Times have certainly changed. Modern technology has eased the way in which our nation conducts business and the way our lives have been enriched by the blessings of a free and prosperous nation. In generations past, those men who fought to “form a more perfect union” believed in the ideals of a free people and a prosperous nation. Those Americans fighting in the trenches of France believed with a fervent heart that Freedom belongs to each man and tongue as well. Those in the Ardennes and on Guadalcanal knew that nothing is more important than preserving Liberty and defeating oppression. And those who fought in Korea, Vietnam and Desert storm, realized the threats that existed yesterday will be prevalent tomorrow as well. And all understood, as do our Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, that nothing is more precious than preserving Freedom today and ensuring the hope of Liberty for tomorrow.
Our Nations Veterans have come from all walks of life and backgrounds. When they answered the call to service; some were immigrants, some were farmers, and many were just your ordinary boys, who, by the events set before them, were turned into extraordinary men. They came from New York to Chicago and Boston to San Diego. Our Nation is the better because of them.
In today's day and age, it is increasingly rare to find volunteers who are willing to temporarily give up comforts or careers, for a diet of “beans and bullets”. I am reminded of greatness by political leaders and all those who put aside those comforts to serve. And by doing so, they became heroes.
Back then they weren't called politicians, they were called servants – and for good reason. Presidents Eisenhower, Nixon, George H. W. Bush, Senators Bob Dole, John McCain and California's favorite son, Ronald Reagan, showed the light of Liberty and the laurels of service.
Many have asked me lately “How can I honor those who have served?” There are many simple ways to give honor. On Memorial and Veterans Day, you can honor a Veteran whom you know by simply taking a minute to make a phone call, and just say “thank you for your service.” You could volunteer to place a few Flags on a Veteran's grave. You could take a few moments to visit a Veteran in one of our many VA hospitals across the Nation. And In doing so, you'll bring tears to their eyes and joy to their heart.
And the most important thing we can do before we shop for the latest sale item in the mall, is to place that grand old Flag on our front porch as we say a prayer for our Veterans. The Flag that conveys the dreams, Ideals and hopes of those who have died and those still preserving Freedom and the blessings of Liberty.
So on this day of remembrance and thanksgiving, I am thankful for those sacrifices by my grandfather in Normandy whom I have never met. I am reminded of freedom, by a German Jewish immigrant named “Dorothy”; with serial numbers engraved on her arm and with a beautiful smile I shall never forget. I am in awe of the power of freedom in every heart and every tongue, to instill hope not just for Americans, but for the world. And may we all point to Liberty's Light as she shines upon the path of those who yearn for Freedom and for those who reach for her.