I am not a veteran and so I can only thank those who have served and are serving to protect our nation. So thank you for answering our nation’s call. Thank you for postponing your pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, so that others in our nation may continue theirs. And mostly thank you for risking your life so that people here and around the world may sleep safely. Thank you from me and my family.
I won’t bore nor offend more on this day by typing volumes of characters yet saying nothing. Instead, I have included an Armastice Day address by Franklin D. Roosevelt during a time in history that is not unlike today.
White House news release.Here in Arlington we are in the presence of the honored dead. We are accountable to them-and to the generations yet unborn for whom they gave their lives.
Today, as on all Armistice Days since 1918, our thoughts go back to the First World War, and we remember with gratitude the bravery of the men who fought and helped to win that fight against German militarism. But this year our thoughts are also very much of the living present, and of the future which we begin to see opening before us-a picture illumined by a new light of hope.
Today, Americans and their British brothers-in-arms are again fighting on French soil. They are again fighting against a German militarism which transcends a hundred-fold the brutality and barbarism of 1918. The Nazis of today-and their appropriate associates, the Japanese have attempted to drive history into reverse, to use all the mechanics of modern civilization to drive humanity back to conditions of pre-historic savagery. They sought to conquer the world, and for a time they seemed to be successful in realizing their boundless ambition. They over ran great territories. They enslaved-they killed.But, today, we know and they know that they have conquered nothing. Today, they face inevitable, final defeat.The forces of liberation are advancing.
Britain, Russia, China and the United States grow rapidly to full strength. The opponents of decency and justice have passed their peak.
And-as the result of recent events-the United Nations’ forces are being joined by large numbers of the fighting men of our traditional ally, France. On this day, of all days, it is heartening for us to know that soldiers of France go forward with the United Nations.
The American Unknown Soldier who lies here did not give his life on the fields of France merely to defend his American home for the moment that was passing. He gave it that his family, his neighbors, and all his fellow Americans might live in peace in the days to come. His hope was not fulfilled.
American soldiers are giving their lives today in all the continents and on all the seas in order that the dream of the Unknown Soldier may at last come true. All the heroism and all the unconquerable devotion that free men and women are showing in this war shall make certain the survival and the advancement of civilization. That is why on this day of remembrance we do not cease from our work, and that in going about our tasks in behalf of our fighting men everywhere, our thoughts turn in gratitude to those who have saved our Nation in days gone by.
We stand in the presence of the honored dead.
We stand accountable to them, and to the generations yet unborn for whom they gave their lives.
God, the Father of all living, watches over these hallowed graves and blesses the souls of those who rest here. May He keep us strong in the courage that will win this war, and may He impart to us the wisdom and the vision that we shall need for true victory in the peace which is to come.
At this moment, great events are taking place in France and Africa, and I think it is particularly appropriate that we greet here today the General of the Armies of the United States.
And I know that I speak for all of you here-I know that I speak for all Americans-men, women and children, in every part of this great land-that I extend our American affectionate greetings to General Pershing.