Veteran’s Day 2012
Twenty-two million living Americans today have distinguished themselves by their service in uniform. Their devotion and sacrifice have been the bedrock of our sovereignty as a Nation, our values as a people, our security as a democracy, and our offer of hope to those in other lands, who dream our dreams of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
For the past 11 years, the men and women of our armed forces have stood watch in Iraq, in Afghanistan, Europe, Korea, and more than 150 other countries around the globe. More than 1.5 million Veterans have served in the combat theaters of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. Since 9/11, nearly 3 million Veterans have departed the military, having fulfilled their duty to the Nation, and become eligible for the benefits and services we offer here at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
We are often reminded that, today, less than 1% of Americans wear the uniforms of our Nation. The sum of their service to the country, however, is beyond measure. Our rights and privileges as American citizens have been their gifts to each of us. We must not take those gifts for granted.
— from General Shinseki’s Veteran’s Day Remarks