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Quotations for Veterans Day

But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for,
Is their monument to-day, and for aye.
~Thomas Dunn English, "Battle of Monmouth," American Ballads, 1879

Veterans Day... let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain. ~President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Veterans Day Proclamation, 1954

But fame is theirs — and future days
On pillar'd brass shall tell their praise;
Shall tell — when cold neglect is dead —
"These for their country fought and bled."
~Philip Freneau, stanzas occasioned by the departure of the British from Charleston, December 14, 1782

In this epoch of ours, many of us are watching with a distressed heart the evidence of a flight from freedom. Most people take liberty for granted, when they enjoy it, and do not realize that they have to relentlessly fight for preserving it. ~Author unknown, c. 1964

It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you. ~Dick Cheney

In war there are no unwounded soldiers. ~José Narosky, Si Todos Los Tiempos: Aforismos, 1977  [“En las guerras no hay soldado sin heridas.” —tg]

Our country will remain "the land of the free" only so long as it is "the home of the brave." ~Public Service Magazine, 1945

Our veterans left everything they knew and loved and served with exemplary dedication and courage so we could all know a safer America and a more just world. They have been tested in ways the rest of us may never fully understand... On Veterans Day, and every day, let us show them the extraordinary gratitude they so rightly deserve... ~President Barack Obama, Veterans Day Proclamation, 2015

Veterans Day gives all Americans a special opportunity to pay tribute to all those men and women who, throughout our history, have left their homes and loved ones to serve their country. Their willingness to give freely and unselfishly of themselves, even their lives, in defense of our democratic principles has given our great country the security we enjoy today... On this special day, our hearts and thoughts turn to all the Nation's veterans. Let us reflect on the great achievements of those whose sacrifices preserved our freedom and our way of life. ~President Ronald Reagan, Veterans Day Proclamation, 1986

First, freedom is never free; in fact, it has always been bought at great cost, whether on the battlefield, in the legislative assembly, in the law courts, in the schoolroom, or in synagogues, temples or churches. Also, it is never self-perpetuating, but has had to be rewon again and again... ~Author unknown, 1960s

When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep? ~George Canning (1770–1827), "The Pilot that Weather'd the Storm"

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them. ~President John F. Kennedy, Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, 1963

I dream
giving birth
a child
who will ask
what was war?"
~Eve Merriam (1916–1992), "Fantasia," Finding a Poem, 1970

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes! ~Maya Angelou

The Estimate and Valour of a Man consist in the Heart, and in the Will, there his true Honour lives. Valour is Stability, not of Legs and Arms, but of the Courage, and the Soul; it does not lie in the valour of our Horse, or our Weapons, but in ourselves. He that falls obstinate in his Courage, Si succiderit de genu pugnat. If his Legs fail him, he Fights upon his Knees. ~Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592), translated from French by Charles Cotton (1630–1687)  [a little altered —tg]

Lord, let War's tempest cease,
Fold the whole Earth in peace
      Under thy wings!
Make all Thy nations one,
All hearts beneath the sun...
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, "Our Fathers' Land," 1860

Veterans Day affords each of us the opportunity to join our fellow citizens, in communities across the Nation, in honoring those whose love of country knew no bounds — those to whom patriotism was principle, not mere sentiment. Without the sacrifices which our brave veterans made so freely and so generously, our cherished freedom would long ago have vanished. ~President Jimmy Carter, Veterans Day Proclamation, 1979

Throughout U.S. history, Americans have kept a special place of honor in their hearts for our veterans; and for more than 70 years, we have set aside each November 11 to recognize the men and women who have so valiantly served America. On this day, we remember and pay tribute to the millions of patriots whose courage and sacrifice have secured our freedom — from those who suffered through the harsh winter at Valley Forge to those who preserved our Union on the battle-fields of Gettysburg to those who turned back the tide of tyranny and hatred on the beaches of Normandy to those who have kept the peace and defended our values around the globe... For all their sacrifices and for the peace, prosperity, and liberty their service has secured for us, our Nation owes our veterans a profound debt of gratitude. ~President William J. Clinton, Veterans Day Proclamation, 1999

Each year, on November 11, we Americans pause to express our respect and gratitude for the millions of men and women who have served our Nation as members of the United States Armed Forces... to honor those who have helped keep our Nation strong and our freedom secure. America's veterans have been steadfast guardians of peace and liberty not only here at home, but also around the world. ~President George H. W. Bush, Veterans Day Proclamation, 1989

Each American veteran is a source of strength and pride for our country... Americans — and millions of people around the world as well — enjoy the blessings of freedom, peace, and representative government because our veterans were willing to risk their lives for them. We are forever grateful for these selfless individuals... ~President George H. W. Bush, Veterans Day Proclamation, 1989

We Americans owe a great deal to all our military veterans, who have shown us — in peacetime as well as times of strife — the value of individual liberty and free and democratic government. Today, let us renew our determination to keep faith with those who have so faithfully served and defended us. We can begin by remembering the cause for which they have labored and by working hard to ensure that their efforts have not been made in vain. ~President George H. W. Bush, Veterans Day Proclamation, 1989

      Two hundred and twenty-five years ago, the signers of the Declaration of Independence declared that "all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness." Throughout the course of American history, courageous men and women have taken up arms to secure, defend, and maintain these core principles upon which our Nation's freedoms depend.
      Today, there are more than 25 million living veterans who served our Nation in times of peace and war. Many of them willingly entered harm's way to fight for our freedoms... By their service, they kept America strong, and they have protected our way of life from tyranny's grip for over two centuries...
      On Veterans Day, let us pause to reflect on the sacrifices of all of those who have put on the uniform to serve in the United States military. Let us honor our veterans, who proved their heroism and love of country time and again, from Yorktown and Gettysburg to Iwo Jima and the Persian Gulf. They consistently defended our ideals across the globe; and they continue to inspire those who defend America today, half a world away. ~President George W. Bush, Veterans Day Proclamation, 2001

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