Thank you, Bill, for honoring military veterans as first responders. The purpose of our armed forces, ladies and gentlemen, is to provide national security. Our warriors protect our freedom. We veterans understand that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance against all enemies, whether foreign or domestic, so even though we’re not in the armed forces any more, we’re still on duty. That’s the responsibility of citizenship. Whether you’ve left the service or never were in it, you’re always on duty as an American citizen to preserve freedom and keep our nation strong.
When we were in the military, we reported to the President, who is Commander-in-Chief. However, as civilians, we don’t report to the Commander-in-chief; we report to the Founding Fathers, to the Constitution and to God, who is the source of our liberty, our sovereignty, our equality, our rights, our justice and our human dignity. That is what the Declaration of Independence says this nation is all about and that is what we veterans uphold.
So I ask you today: What are you doing to meet that obligation?
Your children and other young people are going to inherit this great nation someday, but will they keep it? The strength of America resides in citizens who understand and perform their obligations in a country dedicated to a way of life based on self-government, with liberty and justice for all. Young people must understand the sacred debt they owe to the men and women of the armed forces who have kept America safe and strong for them. Many died in defense of liberty; they gave up their tomorrows for your today. Without your understanding and performance of the duties of citizenship, America will weaken and eventually cease to exist. I say that because youth is 20% of the population but 100% of the future. If young people don’t understand what America is all about, soon there won’t be an America.
But whose fault would that be? If young people don’t learn patriotism and the significance of America at home, in school, in church, temple and mosque, and from the words and deeds of public officials and opinion leaders, it is not their fault. It is ours.
(To be concluded)