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Thank vets every chance you get

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- On Veterans Day, I had the honor of representing the 45th Space Wing by attending the 26th consecutive "Massing of the Colors" Veterans Day ceremony held at Brevard Community College in Cocoa.

To say it was an uplifting, emotional, and inspirational experience would be an understatement.

It is yet another reminder of the tremendous support the Space Coast community continues to give to those who serve and who have served our nation in uniform.
That fact wasn't missed by Adm. Thad Allen, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard, who served as the keynote speaker.

"There was no official order for you to do this, no law that made you do this ...no one told you to do this ... you did this on your own as a community. What a tremendous display of patriotism," the four-star Admiral said.

As many of you may know, Veterans Day was originally celebrated as Armistice Day back in 1918, when on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the world celebrated the end of World War I, then known as the "War to End All Wars."

Beginning in 1954, the United States designated Nov. 11 as Veterans Day to honor veterans of all U.S. wars.

Our nation owes a great debt to its veterans, whose service to the nation spans every war, every decade, every year, and every day of our country's existence. Through untold courage and sacrifice, America's veterans have secured the liberty the founding fathers sought to establish here. Whenever and wherever the nation has called - in times of darkness and danger as well as in times of peace and prosperity - America's veterans have been there.

As Thomas Jefferson once said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

Well, today's Air Force is certainly taking that message to heart. Right now, we have Airmen deployed in harm's way in every corner of the world, and especially in the Middle East, where the 45th Space Wing currently has 85 Airmen serving in direct support of the Global War on Terror. We are standing - and fighting - shoulder to shoulder with other heroes from all services.

Our nation's sacrifice in the name of peace and freedom have made this nation what it is today. By their sacrifice, they give us our strength, our vibrancy.

They deserve more than one day in their honor. We should thank them every chance we get. Go Sharks!