Sacrifice, service, courage—what are the words that you recall when you think about our nation’s veterans?
On the special day when we honor those who have served our country, we not only reflect and recognize the contributions of our veterans, but we also consider our own role in preserving the values that define our nation.
It is hard for me to imagine the horror of war or the impact that experience can have on a person’s life. And yet, millions of brave men and women have faced that horror to defend our freedom and our democratic ideals. We can never repay the debt we owe them. We must always thank and honor them—that is the service we can provide. As noted by George Washington, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation."
Gratitude, appreciation, support, respect—that is how we can serve our veterans, not just today but every day.
I believe we also owe it to our veterans to defend the ideals which they fought for—the values that define our American democracy. In a country deeply divided by political rhetoric, may I suggest we honor our veterans by listening to the wisdom of an American veteran whose life exemplified service to our country? John McCain said, "Our shared values define us more than our differences. And acknowledging those shared values can see us through our challenges today if we have the wisdom to trust in them again."
As we thank and honor our veterans today, I ask each of us to reflect on the values that created this amazing nation. Make a commitment to model those values, to reaffirm those values, and to uphold those values that our veterans sacrificed to maintain. This is how we can all serve our country.
"May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right." I hope these words from Peter Marshall become a call to service for each of us.
To all of the veterans who now serve FCPS, I offer my unending gratitude and appreciation for your service. To all American veterans, I thank you for my country and the opportunity to do what is right in service to the democratic ideals and values for which you served.