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Veterans: Much more than a ‘Day’

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- Each Veterans Day is a special day to remember and thank all our nation's veterans for their sacrifices and service.

Marsha, my daughter Brianna, and I have the distinct honor today of attending the 29th Annual "Massing of the Colors," an inspiring Veterans Day event held every year at the Brevard Community College - Cocoa campus. I am especially proud and humble to speak at this event, one of many patriotic events held throughout our military friendly community on this special day. Each of us has a unique perspective on what Veterans Day means, and who we may honor.

Whether you are in uniform, a military dependent, civilian or contractor, please honor your brothers and sisters in arms, and especially those heroes who gave all to serve their country.

Today we will honor Army Specialist Jeremiah "Jerry" Sancho, of Palm Bay, who was killed Oct. 13 while on foot patrol in Kandahar province, Afghanistan. During his recent funeral, veterans, fellow soldiers, police officers and even members of the community who had never met the 23-year-old soldier turned out to honor him, and show support for his family.

We will also specially honor those wounded warriors who face each day - not just Veterans Day - their own challenges and opportunities.

I know I will reflect upon and honor the service and sacrifices of my father, a retired Air Force Chief, my mother who gave so much to him and to all of us during his career, my wife, my children, and all spouses and family members of U.S. veterans throughout the world, and throughout the history of our great nation.

Today, and every day, let's remember the foresight, courage and sacrifices of our past warriors and heroes and reflect on the courage and sacrifices of today's Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen, who are fighting for freedom and providing humanitarian relief at home and overseas.

We also need to remember their families and loved ones who stand by their side and support them as they defend our nation.

Whether attending a parade, a memorial service or observing the day in private, please reflect upon and mark this occasion by saying

"Thank you" to all veterans of our nation's armed forces.