Saturday, November 12, 2011


Park President Norris Garrett introduced Brigadier General Don Harvel (left).

It is such a pleasure to be in this stunning park on this beautiful morning – let us please express our gratitude to the Carroll County Veterans Memorial Park Committee for their tireless work to establish this memorial! 20 Walls of Honor complete – working on the 21st wall at this time- you should be very proud.

The word veteran may bring to mind someone who is now elderly and long retired who may have served in one of the world wars, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq or Afghanistan. The new veteran is the man or woman next door who may be a homemaker, a college student, teacher, police officer, firefighter or a very active community volunteer.

Less than 1 percent of Americans serve in uniform today but they bear 100% of the burden of defending our nation. More than 2.2 million service members make up our all-volunteer force. Since September 11, 2011, over 2 million troops have deployed to overseas combat zones. All of these great Americans – at one point in time – signed a blank check made payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including his/her life. How do you say “Thank You” for that? The best we can do is properly honor, recognize and support our veterans.

Veterans Day has been commemorated each year on November 11th – the date that the guns fell silent at the end of World War I, the conflict that was supposed to be the “War to end all Wars.” In 1921, an unknown World War One American soldier was buried in the Arlington National Cemetery. Similar ceremonies occurred in England and France, where an unknown soldier was buried in each nation’s highest place of honor (In England- Westminster Abbey; in France – Arc De Triomphe). These memorial gestures all took place on November 11th – giving universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War One fighting at 11 A.M. – November 11, 1918 (The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month). The day became known as “Armistice Day.” As we all know – only a few years after the Armistice Day holiday was proclaimed war once again broke out in Europe.

World War II – claimed the lives of more than 407,000 American service men and women. In order to pay tribute to those veterans that served our nation during World War II, a proposal was made in Congress to change “Armistice Day” to “Veterans Day” in order to honor the veterans that served America in all wars. In 1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill that proclaimed November 11th officially as “Veterans Day.”

In every decade since freedom has been threatened and new generations of patriotic Americans have stepped forward to safeguard our nation’s freedom. This is truer now than ever before. Our nation pauses – as it should – in solemn remembrance and deep appreciation for their selfless sacrifice and service.

This veteran’s Day weekend, you should reflect in pride on the accomplishments of your fellow citizens for the veterans here today, your service and sacrifice has made the difference between living in a free world, versus living under tyranny. We commend your dedication, commitment and selflessness.

It is truly an honor to be with all of you in Carrollton this morning. Thank you for the invitation to speak on behalf of not only our nation’s veterans – but especially the veterans, friends and families that have graced us with their presence this morning. Thank you!


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