November 11, 2002
Mayor Bill Bogaard
I am honored to join in this ceremony to honor America’s veterans.
Veteran’s Day is an important occasion each year, because it gives all of us the opportunity to thank those who have served in the United States military, and to remind ourselves of the tremendous sacrifices veterans have made to maintain the strength, the freedom and the independence of our great nation.
According to Government records, 48 million men and women have served in the military since the founding of the United States, approximately half of whom are living today. That means that nearly 24 million persons-about 10% of tour population today-are the subject of today’ commemoration!
Not every veteran has known the full fury of battle. I, for example, served in the US Air Force as an Air Weather Officer. But most veterans count their time in service among the defining experiences of their lives. For many, military service drew out the best that is in them, instilling high standards of diligence, discipline and loyalty. They lived by a code and stood ready to fight and die for the Country.
We have come to appreciate more than ever the veterans of Korea and Vietnam, who endured the worst that war can bring-massive casualties, merciless enemies, and long captivity. For some, the nation’s gratitude was slow in coming, but today all veterans know that their sacrifices are appreciated, and their courage is honored.
It is possible that Americans will be called upon to fight soon again! In this new century, our homeland has been attacked by terrorists who have declared themselves to be mortal enemies of the United States. We cannot predict whether hostilities will begin, or their length or course. But we know with certainty that this nation will persevere, and we will prevail.
As we approach the hour of 11:11AM on the 11th day of the 11th month this year, hearkening back to the day in 1918 that is the origin of this great commemoration, let us pray that our goals and our responsibilities as a notion can be achieved without hostilities.
]I consider it a great privilege to have this opportunity, on behalf of the people of Pasadena, to pay tribute to the veterans of America, with special honor to those who came from and who are from the Pasadena area. Please join me in recognizing all veterans, especially those who in our midst today.