Statement on Veterans Day


November 10, 1986


On Veterans Day, we take respite from the ordinary business of daily life to pay honor to those who have served in the Armed Forces throughout our nation's history. It is right that we should meditate upon the principles for which so many Americans have fought -- peace, freedom, the sacred and inviolable dignity of all men -- principles that still give hope to the Nation. But let us above all consider the veterans themselves, the millions of men and women who have given of themselves, even of their lives. Our veterans have come from the grassy plains of Iowa and the streets of Brooklyn. They have spoken with the twang of New England and the drawl of the South, and, often, with the accents of the foreign lands of their birth. And from the time of the Revolution, when black soldiers fought for the American cause, they have represented our country's diverse ethnic heritage. And they have prevailed, prevailed so that today the United States of America is the greatest Nation on Earth.


We also pledge again what we have pledged before: We will write no final chapters, we will close no books, until we have a return of all who may be alive in Southeast Asia, a fullest possible accounting of all those missing in action, and repatriation of the remains of those who died serving our nation. In our hearts, we will hold these men -- husbands, fathers, sons, brothers, and sweethearts -- and we will never forget. America will not leave its men on the battlefield. Our veterans, then, are the heroes among us. On this Veterans Day, let us pay them tribute. And let us resolve to live up to their example.