Our Air Force is the greatest in the world. It’s not the powerful weapons, the sophisticated aircraft, missiles, rockets, satellites and cyber technology systems that make us great. The true strength of our Air Force, and all of our nation’s Armed Forces, is the spirit and skill of the men and women who have worn and now wear the military uniform.
We should remember these men and women every day, but Veterans Day gives us a special opportunity to truly reflect on their sacrifices and honor them for what they’ve done and what they do.
For the State of Utah, there are nearly 150,000 veterans that call Utah home. Veterans like Col. Gail Halvorsen, who just turned 100 this year, is best known as the Berlin candy bomber, to Maj. Gen. Orvil Anderson, founding commandant of the Air War College.
Veterans like these who came before us, help build and shape the Air Force to what it is today. Take time to thank our Utah veterans for their selfless sacrifice.
At this moment, nearly 500 Airmen from Hill Air Force Base are deployed in countries around the world conducting military operations, and providing humanitarian care with peoples of nations around the globe. This Veterans Day, let us honor these Airmen. And let’s not forget the families our Airmen left behind.
Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day, the day that commemorates the end of World War I, dramatically declared in 1918 on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill in 1954 officially establishing Nov. 11 as Veterans Day, stating, "…let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly on the seas, in the air and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom…"
Let us take the time to recognize and show gratitude to all who have answered the call of our nation. Let us celebrate their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice. Let us reflect on the importance of what our military does in safeguarding our way of life. And last of all, in whatever role we play, let us rededicate ourselves to protecting the freedoms we enjoy.
I wish all of you to have a safe, enjoyable holiday. I’m proud to serve with you and I thank you for your commitment to Hill AFB, the Air Force and our great nation.