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In honor of the Veteran
For those who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States of America we are eternally grateful.

For the lost sons and daughters of war we can only swear on our sacred honor that we will never forget their courageous sacrifice, and pray that theirs may be the last. Though war is not intrinsically a noble and honorable endeavor, it is those who rise to the challenge and engage in it for the greater good that make it so. They are all of us, and we are they. When one of them dies or is missing, our resolve is strengthened by the loss equal to the degree that the lost soldier is honored and remembered by we who remain alive and free. Thus, it is our patriotic duty to honor those who have been lost in the service of our country, and never allow them to be forgotten.

Welcome home, Vets!
Used with permission of Chuck "Doc Gecko" Stewart

For those who have served honorably and returned alive, we celebrate the opportunity to welcome them home and thank them for their service. For they are the ones who, at an age when life is boundless and experience limited, leave their homes and families and travel to foreign lands to take up arms on our behalf. Too soon they become aware that victory, honor, and their very survival require more of them than idealistic rhetoric had ever revealed. No amount of training has prepared them for what they must endure. And yet they stay...noble paladins...they obey, they endure, they fight on...they survive. When finally they return home, they are forever changed. Some outwardly, some in other ways. Now we must do no less than thank and honor them for doing what the rest of us could not, and welcome them home as the heroes they have become. To do less diminishes us all.

Never Forget POW/MIAs

For those brave soldiers who fought but have not returned, and whose fate is known only to God, we must pledge together to them and to their families to remember them each day and to do everything in our power to speak on their behalf. To find them and return them to their own soil, living and dead alike, during a time of relative peace seems a small enough sacrifice in comparison. Can we in good conscience do less for the patriots who sacrificed their existence for us and our well-being? This is not simply the American thing to do, and the humane thing to do, it is the right thing to do.

--Ron Fleischer, April 14, 1997

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I am very proud of and extremely grateful to our Veterans. Thank you...Thank you for serving your country with little or no gratitude. Thank you for sacrificing time with your families. Thank you for spending countless hours, days, months, away from home and loved ones, often in dangerous and extreme conditions. Thank you for fighting for MY freedoms. And to those that fell, thank you for paying the ultimate price. I for one am proud to be an American. I am proud of our Veterans. "I am proud of our American Flag." Thank you with all my heart.

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Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a aged scar, a certain look in the eye. Others may carry the evidence  inside them: a pin holding a bone together,a piece of shrapnel in the leg, or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul's ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe
wear no badge or emblem. You can't tell a vet just by looking. What is a vet?
He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating
two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn't run
out of fuel.He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks,
whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.
She - or he - is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep
sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
He is the POW who went away one person and came back another - or didn't
come back AT ALL. He is the Quantico drill instructor that has never seen
combat - but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account
rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each
other's backs. He is the parade - riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals passhim by. He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean's sunless deep.
He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket - palsied now and
aggravatingly slow - who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who
wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the
nightmares come. He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being a person who offered some of his life's most vital years in the service of his
country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have
to sacrifice theirs. He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known. So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That's all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded.Two little words that mean a lot, "THANK YOU".
Remember November 11th is Veterans Day.
"It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the
press.  It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of
speech.  It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us
the freedom to demonstrate.  It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag,Who
serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

Father Dennis Edward O'Brien, Lt. Col., USMC

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