• Commander Jonathon Ralph

Veterans Day Speech


We are here today to honor our service members and veterans, and remember the sacrifices they have made and the courage it takes to defend honor, duty, and country.

We are here to honor our heroes, to remember their achievements, their dedication, and to say thank you for their sacrifices. Thinking of the heroes who are here today and those who are here only in spirit, a person can’t help but feel awed by the enormity of what we see. We stand in the midst of patriots and the family and friends of those who have nobly served in the Armed Forces.

Our debt to these heroes can never be re-paid, but our gratitude and respect must last forever.

For many veterans, our nation was important enough to endure long separations from their families, miss the births of their children, freeze in sub-zero temperatures, bake in wild jungles, lose limbs, and, far too often, lose their lives.

Military spouses have had to endure career interruptions, frequent changes of address, and a disproportionate share of parental responsibilities.

The children often had to deal with changes in schools, separation from friends and, hardest of all, the uncertainty of whether or not Mom or Dad will live through their next combat tour.

The service members and veterans we honor today came from all walks of life, but they share several fundamental qualities. They possess courage, pride, determination, selflessness, dedication to duty, and integrity – all the qualities needed to serve a cause larger than one’s self.

These veterans didn’t ask to leave their homes to fight on distant battlefields. Many didn’t even volunteer. They didn’t go to war because they loved fighting. They were called to be part of something bigger than themselves. They were ordinary people who responded in extraordinary ways in extreme times. They rose to the nation’s call because they wanted to protect a nation which has given them, and us, so much.

It doesn’t matter whether they served during a time of war or a time of peace. The veterans do not get to choose. For those who served during peace time, let us remember that peace can turn to war in a matter of minutes. The call to duty, honor, and country remains the same no matter the time.

It doesn’t matter whether a veteran served oversees or here in the United States. Again, the veteran did not get to choose. The needs of our Country supersede the wishes of the individual.

The commitment to duty, honor, and country exemplify what a veteran believes. When a person raises their hand and takes the Oath of Enlistment, they become members of the Armed Forces. They are willing to suffer the sacrifices it takes being in the Armed Forces so that our country can stay safe and strong.

Thank you, and God Bless our Veterans and the United States of America.

#VeteransDay

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The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest veterans service organization, committed to mentoring and sponsorship of youth programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting a strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow service members and veterans.

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