Unlike many other nations around the world, our military is made up entirely of volunteers. Each of these men and women have chosen to serve this country, regardless of the political climate here or abroad. They choose to serve for myriad reasons - love of country, opportunities - but they have voluntarily chosen to serve.
Many who volunteer are aware of the appalling statistics associated with veterans in this country. In 2014, 18% of all suicides in the United States were veterans. In 2015, 300,000 veterans likely died waiting for medical care from the Veterans Administration. Tonight, this very night, nearly 40,000 veterans are homeless.
Those who volunteer and serve today know that their purported Commander-In-Chief is himself a draft dodger (because bone spurs, which much like his tax returns, are nowhere to be found). They know that he actively mocked a US Senator because that Senator had the temerity to be captured and became a POW while serving in Vietnam. They know he actively mocked the parents of a dead soldier because they have the last name of Khan. They know that he has disrespected the widow of a slain soldier because, in her grief, she exposed him for the careless fraud that he is. In spite of all this, they continue to serve and men and women continue to volunteer. We owe each of them, those who serve today and those who have served, a tremendous amount of gratitude.
Former U.S. Senator Bill Frist said it best of our veterans:
The valor and courage of our young men and women in the
armed services are a shining example to all of the world,
and we owe them and their families our deepest respect.
Thank a veteran today. Thank their families. Remember that the basic freedoms you enjoy have been protected by their service. Remember their valor and courage and thank them.