“Those who live today remember those who do not. Those who know freedom remember today those who gave up life for freedom.” 

—Ronald Reagan, Nov. 11, 1988, Veterans Day National Ceremony, Arlington National Cemetery

As we pause to honor all Americans who have served in our armed forces, especially those who gave their last full measure of their devotion to our great country, words escape us. We owe them, and their families, the simple grace of saying, “Thank you.”

Together, we have served a combined 51 years. We, like so many vets, come from military families. We served because it was not only a family tradition, but an honor and privilege to wear the uniform of this exceptional nation. Service came naturally to us, because that is the way we were raised.

And when you raise your hand, and take the oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, and wear her uniform with pride, you know that you are following in the footsteps of countless brave men and women before you.

As veterans, we encourage you to join us by saying “Thank you” to vets and their families, and to remember those have died, and those who are in harms’ way right now.

To our fathers, who each served in World War II, we say: “Thank you.”

Thank you for serving in the Army and Navy as young enlisted men when our nation was thrust into yet another world war to preserve freedom and liberty. And thank you for teaching us the blessings of service to one’s country. Someday, we will join you in Heaven and thank you ourselves.

To our other family members who served, thank you for carrying on a family tradition. We are proud to have served in the same military with you, and know that your service made our country, and family, even stronger.

To our fellow soldiers, shipmates, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard personnel, thank you for your service. It has been an honor and privilege to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with you. Your service and sacrifice and devotion to duty have made us a safer and more vibrant country.

And to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, you will not be forgotten. God bless you and your families.