For nearly 100 years we have paused to honor our veterans on Nov. 11. As World War I’s guns fell silent, many in the world believed they had witnessed the ‘war to end all wars’ and thought it appropriate to honor their veterans throughout history who had fought and sacrificed so much.

On Veterans Day, Remembrance Day, Armistice Day or the Day of Peace — this day has many names — communities around the world stop to pay tribute to their veterans. In the case of our American experience, the occasion is made all the more solemn by the extraordinary role that our veterans have played in securing and ensuring our freedom and our way of life.

On Veterans Day, we recognize and celebrate the strength, courage and dedication of our veterans who not only wield the hammer of conflict, but also shape the world for lasting peace. The brave actions of our veterans endure in the pages of history.
As we honor their battlefield sacrifices, we should also remember the lasting legacy of strength and service they brought with them when they returned home.

Though uniforms have changed many times in the last 237 years, what hasn’t changed has been the determination and spiritual strength of the men and women willing to serve this nation. Tens of thousands of veterans who no longer wear a military uniform live among us. To them we owe a lasting debt of gratitude. More importantly, we owe them our continued support.

Our current generation of veterans, those of us in uniform and those who recently took their uniforms off and their Families have borne an extraordinary burden over the last 11 years. Like all veterans before them, none see themselves as heroes. In truth, they are all just ordinary Americans who have been called upon to do extraordinary things. What makes our veterans special is the ethos, the love of country and the love and respect they have for those around them who inspire them to answer the call.

Here at Fort Bragg, we remain very fortunate that our surrounding communities embrace their veterans, past and present, all year long, but especially at this time of year. Our surrounding communities see their veterans as neighbors, friends, Family members, members of their places of worship and community leaders. These communities open their arms and eagerly accept us into their lives. For the Soldiers and Airmen stationed at Fort Bragg, I want to thank our surrounding communities for their continued generosity and support.

So, as we pause to honor our veterans on Nov. 11, let us also be thankful for a community that supports us in our service and in our life after service. Let us be thankful for a community that embraces its veterans and appreciates all that our veterans can bring to the table. Let us be thankful for the local businesses that know the value of our veterans and hire them every day. Let us be thankful for a community that sees itself as part of us, and us as part of them.

… And remember our veterans’ sacrifices. Draw strength from it. Be inspired by it. Endeavor to always live up to the example that those who have come before us have set.

Have a safe and enjoyable Veterans Day holiday.