As we pause today to remember and honor those who have given their lives to protect us and preserve our liberty, we should ponder the changing roles they have adopted over the years.
Our military has evolved from the citizen-soldiers who grabbed their muskets and left their families to fight against tyrannical oppressors. Their success helped forge this nation and preserved its unity. As we grew, and the world grew around us, our armies and fleets served farther afield, across oceans to fight not just for American freedom, but the rights of people everywhere to be free.
As this century dawned, enemies brought death and destruction to our shores, forcing us into a war different from any other we had fought, a war against a hidden enemy bent on terrorism. Our armed forces have had to adapt, to respond to different threats and tactics, to anticipate and seek intelligence to thwart attacks.
The weapons, the uniforms, the tactics and strategies have changed over the years, but one immutable constant has been the willingness of American men and women to stand up, to serve, to put themselves in danger and suffer hardships, injuries and death, all to protect their country and their way of life.
Today, as we relax and enjoy the benefits of peace and prosperity, let us also give thanks to those who have made it all possible. We salute the men and women who serve in our military forces and all who are engaged in the protection of our society against the enemies who threaten us today.