These are some beautiful excerpts from a speech given by President Gerald R. Ford in 1974:
Today, as we all know, is a very special day for all Americans. But to those of us who are veterans ourselves, it has a very special and added meaning. Memories come back of families and old comrades--of distant days and places from the past. Some of those friends are still with us, sharing in the challenges of peace, just as they did their duty in wartime. Others we shall never see again. But they, especially, are here with us in spirit in the shadow of the Tomb of the Unknowns.
We are all here today and we are all free today because for nearly 200 years, whenever freedom has been threatened, gallant men and women have answered the call of their country. From all branches of the services they risked and sometimes gave their lives for this Nation.
In difficult times, our veterans of all ages agreed with and kept faith with us. They kept America free and enabled us to keep faith with the free world. On this historic day, let us resolve anew to keep faith with them.
The markers over the graves of the known and the unknown whom we salute here today stand as silent sentinels to nearly 200 years of sacrifice and freedom. The men and women with us here today, whom we honor for the uniforms they once wore, stand as attentive guardians of this Nation which Lincoln once aptly described as "The last, best hope of earth."
Let us make sure, on this beautiful day, the debt we owe to so many is properly honored. Let this Veterans Day strengthen our resolve to always walk the extra mile for peace, but always walk it strong and unafraid--for without a mighty America no peace can long survive.
Thank you to all our Veterans!