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Public Statements

Veterans Day 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, tomorrow is a very important day--Veterans Day--a day we set aside to honor the service and sacrifice of the heroic men and women who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. America remains a beacon of freedom throughout the world today because of the commitments and sacrifices they have made. Over the years, many brave Americans donned their country's uniform to ensure we would remain safe and free here at home.

My own State of Kentucky has a proud and honorable military history and today is home to both Fort Knox and Fort Campbell, which together house thousands of soldiers. The Commonwealth is also home to scores of brave National Guard members and reservists. The efforts of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines from Kentucky and all 50 States continue today, as our fighting forces courageously defend freedom from dangerous enemies all around the world.

I have been honored to meet with the families of Bluegrass State servicemembers who have been lost in war. I would like to share with my colleagues a little of what they have told me about how proud they are of their loved ones' service.

One soldier's son said:

Nobody wants to see their father die ..... but to have it be while doing something of this significance, we're proud of him.

Another soldier's widow told me:

There are no great words in a time of deep tragedy. But surely there are great men in the midst of great tragedy.

And I will never forget what a preacher said of his lost congregant:

[He] didn't want to die, he didn't intend to die. But he was willing to lay down his life. That's what a hero is.

On Veterans Day, we pay tribute to everyone who ever bore arms in service of this Nation. We can express our thanks and our gratitude to those who are still with us. And we must honor in our memories those who did not return home.

We pay tribute to the families of our servicemembers, too, because they have made a sacrifice as well by loaning America their sons, daughters, husbands, and wives.

And we pay tribute to the indomitable American spirit that is essential to the survival of liberty. It is thanks to America's veterans and their exceptional service that we have upheld this spirit.

Lastly, I would like to offer best wishes for a happy birthday to our marines deployed across the globe, especially to our Kentucky marines who have been such a source of pride to the Commonwealth.


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