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Veterans Day stirs memories and tributes

In July of 1997, I was with the N.C. Army National Guard and was fortunate to do two weeks of active duty on a humanitarian mission as medical support (Army Medic) with the 505th Engineer Battalion from Gastonia. The mission was to build a block concrete school house for the impoverished, isolated village of San Lorenzo, Ecuador. I was blown away at the living conditions, people living in small shacks, many without running water. It certainly made me feel more compassion for people who have little, both far away and here at home in the U.S.

— Dick Richards

Salisbury

On this Veterans Day, please join me to reflect on the sacrifice and the service of the men and women who have traveled anywhere at a moment’s notice to defend our freedom and keep us safe. It’s because of those who are willing to lay down their lives to protect our freedoms that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

— U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis

America has long stood as a beacon of hope and opportunity, and few embody that spirit here at home and beyond our borders more than the members of our Armed Forces. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen are part of an unbroken chain of brave patriots who have served our country with honor and made tremendous sacrifices so that we may live free. On Veterans Day, we salute the women and men who have proudly worn the uniform of the United States of America and the families who have served alongside them, and we affirm our sacred duty as citizens to express our enduring gratitude, both in words and in actions, for their service.

Our country has the best-trained and best-equipped military force in the world, and we need to make sure we have the most supported and respected veterans in the world. We are a Nation that leaves no one behind …

— President Barack Obama

Veterans Day Proclamation

Military service forms priorities and commitments that last for a lifetime. … Dwight Eisenhower once recalled the day he began his military career. “The feeling came over me,” he said, “that the expression ‘the United States of America’ would now and henceforth mean something different than it had ever before. From here on, it would be the nation I would be serving, not myself.”

Long after their honorable discharge, our veterans still symbolize what it means to be a citizen. Go to any community in this country and you will find veterans in positions of service and leadership. In so many ways, veterans live out the meaning of patriotism and idealism and concern for others. Those of us who are the children and grandchildren of veterans have seen those qualities up close — each of us is better because of the influence of a veteran. And so is America.

— President George W. Bush

Veterans Day, 2002

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