November is the month we take a moment to recognize the extraordinary men and women who are veterans of the United States military. They are the ones who have protected our nation from those who wish to do us harm. Throughout our country’s history these are the people who have stood in harm’s way. They provide us hope during times of war, and comfort during times of peace. They are the ones who make peace possible. It is through the valor of veterans, living and dead, that we enjoy freedom.
I find it interesting how veterans are often uncomfortable with the label ‘hero’. And truly, when you meet veterans among us, they are plain people. They don’t seem remarkable. But while they may seem plain, while they don’t make a show of their sacrifice, while they do the same things you and I do every day, their service was not plain. Their sacrifices are worthy of notice. Their daily presence among us is remarkable. We may all be plain people together, but they are heros, however uncomfortable with the label they may be, they are heros who have gone further than the rest of us, to keep the rest of us… comfortable.
So veterans, know that to us in Simpsonville, we reflect with pride on Veterans Day and all the days of the year on your service to our nation. We are filled with humility and awe in the heroism of those who died in this country’s service and in those who have served and returned to our loving arms. We have gratitude for the victories, because they have kept us free from things that are repugnant to who we are, and because of the opportunities it has given America to prosper with peace and justice that is an example to all nations.
My words are pretty meager. So I defer to the speakers of history who expressed it so much better than I ever will. In the words of John F. Kennedy, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” We owe you that, to live up to the promise and the responsibility you have given us. Here are the words of Ronald Reagan, “We remember those who were called upon to give all a person can give, and we remember those who were prepared to make that sacrifice if it were demanded of them in the line of duty, though it never was. Most of all, we remember the devotion and gallantry with which all of them ennobled their nation as they became champions of a noble cause.”
It’s not just about saying, “Thank you for your service.” We certainly do, but we must never forget it’s really about how we treat you, our veterans, every single day of the year. It’s about making sure you have what you need. It’s about being in service to all of you, and doing that equally as well as you’ve served the United States of America.
I hope you all had a wonderful Veterans Day and will have an even better Thanksgiving. Now back to work.■