Thank you to our Veterans

Lt. Governor Scott delivered these remarks at Barre's Veterans' Day Commemoration on Friday, November 9, 2012.

Today, on Veterans Day, we gather here to recognize our Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and National Guard veterans who have sacrificed, both in war and in peace, to protect America and the American way of life.

We are here today to honor our brave men and women who have proudly served this great Nation, for they are the foundation of what makes us the superpower of the world.

Thank you for your service. It means a lot to me that you’ve invited me to speak to you.

Lt. Governor Scott (3rd from right) joins Barre Mayor Thom Lauzon (in red tie) and other local officials in leading the Veterans' Day Parade in downtown Barre.

Armistice Day, as this commemoration was first proclaimed, recognized the day the cease-fire was signed at the end of World War I, putting an end to hostilities on November 11, 1918, at 11:00 am: on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Armistice Day was first designated to honor those who fought in World War I, which was said to be "a war to end all wars." Unfortunately it didn't.

Currently, we have Vermonters who are serving in active Guard duty overseas. Not a large number, but every soldier is a life potentially in danger, and someone with family at home.

It's a bit easier to recognize the active-duty servicemembers. However, the majority of veterans we honor today are no longer wearing a military uniform. (Some no longer fit.) Many have gone on to become our teachers, police officers, first responders and neighbors. Whether they wear the military uniform today, or wore it decades ago, veterans exemplify the highest ideals of service to our Nation.

The larger numbers, as you know, are those who have recently returned from service in our recent conflicts, and who are making the transition back into civilian life. Over the last three years, we’ve had 1800 Vermonters return from Afghanistan and Iraq -- a result of our national policy decisions to transition out of active foreign commitments.

All of you remember the adjustments you and your family had to make, coming home. Some of those adjustments are the same today, and others are new. The physical needs are easier to identify; it's the emotional issues that are sometimes the most difficult.

Irene showed us that we Vermonters don’t like to ask for help; we like to be “Vermont Strong”, and veterans are among our strongest and most self-reliant. So we all need to pay attention and look for opportunities to be proactive and reach out.

Our men and women in uniform, both past and present, have been, and are, the most powerful line of defense in all conflicts against enemies who set out to harm our way of life. The true strength of our military is the spirit and skill of the men and women who have worn the service uniforms of our Nation. They have answered the call to duty from all across America.

To our veterans -- our servicemembers of all ages -- who have engaged in combat, peacekeeping and humanitarian operations: we honor you. To those servicemembers who paid the ultimate price or who are still missing or unaccounted for: we honor you by remembering the sacrifices you and your families made for our great Nation.

So if you encounter a veteran today and in the days ahead, take the time to simply say "thank you."

Thank God for our military…thank God for our Veterans…and thank you for having me here today.

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