Michael F. Nozzolio

November 10, 2009

No nation in the history of the world has ever done more or given more in the defense of world freedom than the United States and its citizens. 

Just as our veterans recognized their duty to honor and serve their Country, we too must recognize our duty as Americans to honor the profound sacrifices they made so that we could live our lives in freedom.

We can never forget the courage and bravery demonstrated by the millions of men and women who have left their homes, their families and their communities to serve our Country and who continue to risk their lives each and every day in order to protect us. 

There is no greater obligation than to honor and thank our veterans for their service to our nation, whether in times of peace or in times of war. The extent and importance of the sacrifices our veterans have made has never been more clear than they are today in the ongoing war against terrorism, the war in Iraq, and our continued operations in Afghanistan and the Middle East.

This Veteran’s Day, we pause and pay tribute to the approximately 160,000 troops still fighting in the regions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Sadly more than 5,000 of our soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice and numerous others have experienced serious injury and harm.

With thousands and thousands of veterans coming home from this war, we must prepare for their return and ensure that they receive the care and benefits they deserve. We must work to ensure that prescription drugs are affordable, health care is accessible and that Veteran’s Hospitals are provided with the proper tools and support they need.

Noble sacrifices of past generations deserve to be remembered and cherished. That is why I have worked closely with veterans groups to establish a world-class veterans cemetery at the former Sampson Air Force Base.  It is an honor to lead the efforts to make the Sampson Veterans Memorial Cemetery a reality.

As we remember and honor our veterans on this Veterans Day, we also remember the members of our armed services currently serving at home and abroad. Our hearts and our prayers are with them.  I have often said a person is a hero not for what they do, but for what they would do. Our soldiers risk their lives for each another. They leave their family and friends and the comfort of their homes to serve a cause greater than themselves. They make whatever sacrifices are necessary for their fellow citizens and their nation. They live for freedom and they would die for freedom.

Heroes don’t ask to be heroes and they don’t strive to become heroes. People are called to heroism, and heroes are those that answer the call.

The fallen heroes we honor on Veteran's Day were people like you and I. They missed their loved ones, dreamed dreams, and felt the same fears we do, while sharing in the hope and promise our nation provides. These courageous Americans,  when called upon to protect our country, served with honor and paid the ultimate price to defend our great Nation.

It is my hope that you will join me in acknowledging these courageous individuals and that you will join me in honoring our veterans and their sacrifices they make each and every day. 

God bless America, the greatest nation in the history of the world, and God bless our veterans for making it that way.