ARMY,AIRFORCE, NAVY AND MARINE FAMILY FRIENDS AND YOU WHO ARE here NOW.
Thank You General, nobody could have said it more eloquently
The only people who have sacrificed are the veterans and their families. The volunteers. The people who swore an oath to defend this nation. You stand there, deployment after deployment and fight on. You've lost relationships, spent years of your lives in extreme conditions, years apart from kids you'll never get back, and beaten your body in a way that even professional athletes don't understand.
Then you come home to a nation that doesn't understand. They don't understand suffering. They don't understand sacrifice. They don't understand why we fight for them. They don't understand that bad people exist. They look at you like you're a machine - like something is wrong with you. You are the misguided one - not them.
When you get out, you sit in the college classrooms with political science teachers that discount your opinions on Iraq and Afghanistan because YOU WERE THERE and can't understand the macro issues they gathered from books, because of your bias.
You watch TV shows where every vet has PTSD and the violent strain at that. Your Congress is debating your benefits, your retirement, and your pay, while they ask you to do more. But the amazing thing about you is that you all know this. You know your country will never pay back what you've given up. You know that the populace at large will never truly understand or appreciate what you have done for them.
Hell, you know that in some circles, you will be thought as less than normal for having worn the uniform. But you do it anyway.You do what the greatest men and women of this country have done since 1775. YOU SERVED. Just that decision alone makes you part of an elite group.
"Never in the field of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few." -Winston Churchill- Thank you to the 11.2% and 4.3% who have served and thanks to the 0.45% who continue to serve our Nation.
General David Petraeus
West Point Class 1974
"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But the U.S. ARMED FORCES don't have that problem."