Washington, DC…Hi, everybody. This weekend, as we search for ways to bridge our differences, we look to the principles that are more enduring than politics. And some of the best examples are found in the men and women we saluted yesterday, and every day – our troops and veterans. It is the example of young Americans – our 9/11 Generation – who, as first responders ran into smoldering towers, ran to a recruiting center and signed up to serve.
It is the example of a military that meets every mission, one united team, all looking out for one another, all getting each other’s backs.
It is the example of the single most diverse institution in our country – soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and coastguardsmen who represent every corner of our country, every shade of humanity, immigrant and native-born, Christian, Muslim, Jew, and nonbeliever alike, all forged into common service.
It is the example of veterans – patriots – who, when they take off their fatigues, put back on the camouflage of everyday life in America; who become our business partners and bosses, our teachers and coaches, our first responders and city council members and neighborhood role models, all still serving this country we love with the same sense of duty and valor.
Our veterans don’t always go around telling stories of their heroism. So it is up to us to ask, to listen, to tell those stories for them, and to live in our own lives the values for which they were prepared to give theirs. It’s up to us to summon some of the courage and humility our veterans show, and to acknowledge that we can never serve them in quite the same they serve us.
But we can try. We need to keep working to make sure they always get the care and benefits they’ve earned. We can practice kindness. We can volunteer, serve, and respect one another. We can always get each other’s backs. And we can show how much we love our country by loving our neighbors as ourselves.
To all of you who served and who still do: thank you. And have a great weekend, everybody.