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Air Force leaders send Veterans Day message

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Secretary of the Air Force Michael Donley, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Roy send the following Veterans Day message:

In 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the belligerent parties of World War I ceased hostilities after years of brutal armed conflict. Two decades later, Nov. 11 became a legal federal holiday -- Armistice Day -- commemorating this 1918 event that was "to end all wars." This would not come to pass, however, and in the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day was rightly re-designated "Veterans Day."

Today, nearly a century later, Nov. 11 endures as the date for our nation to honor veterans of all wars. Patriotic Americans of every generation, including the more than 24 million living veterans, have endured the toil of war to defeat aggression, restore order and secure liberty and opportunity, the birthright of every American. We solemnly pay tribute especially to our servicemembers who gave their last full measure for freedom, and to those who remain missing in action. Their sacrifices have rendered and preserved that which we cherish most. Our humble repayment to them and their families begins with ensuring that they and their stories of valor remain always in our national consciousness.

This Veterans Day, we express sincere gratitude to our servicemembers, and profound appreciation for selfless families who, through their unflagging support for their loved ones who wear the cloth of the United States, also sacrifice for our country. Through their selflessness, our military members and families uphold our nation's ideals, and honor the sacrifice of those who came before. We, as a nation, thank them all.