Politicians can spend a lot of time talking about military policy and foreign affairs. About military entanglements, needless war, and the idea that it is far past time for the US to stop being the world’s police force.

For just a couple of days out of the year, though, we focus on the men and women who serve in our armed forces. We recognize those individuals who joined the military because they believe in and want to protect the values of liberty that our country was founded upon.

Electing to serve is no small matter. To weigh the possible price can be daunting. To consider the commitment of time and effort that would be required. To count the cost in pain and blood and preparation for conflict. To ponder – if even for a moment – whether or not your commitment might lead to death’s door, or even beyond.

There are upwards of 40 million men and women in the US today who at one point looked inward. They considered, they weighed, they counted the cost. They asked themselves if they would truly be willing to make that sacrifice…

… then stood up and said “Yes.”

It is that spirit of service and sacrifice that we honor today.

To all our veterans – thank you.

Thank you for your service.

Thank you for the sacrifices you have made, and will make.

I can only hope and pray that we live up to the standard you have set before us. May the memory of your service and sacrifice encourage us to do whatever it takes to ensure that our country remains a land where freedom rings.