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14th AF Commander Veterans Day message

Joseph Brocato, Past Commander, The General Hoyt S. Vandenberg Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars, present a plaque to Lt. Gen. David Buck, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) and Joint Functional Component Command for Space Commander, in appreciation for his participation in an event honoring World War II and Korean War Veterans, Oct. 29, 2015 at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif.  Buck spoke to a room of more than 600 veterans, their families and friends, expressing his sincere gratitude for their service and the legacy of honor and valor they have bestowed upon all those who serve today. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Nicholas Mercurio/Released)

Joseph Brocato, Past Commander, The General Hoyt S. Vandenberg Chapter of the Military Order of the World Wars, present a plaque to Lt. Gen. David Buck, 14th Air Force (Air Forces Strategic) and Joint Functional Component Command for Space Commander, in appreciation for his participation in an event honoring World War II and Korean War Veterans, Oct. 29, 2015 at the Alex Madonna Expo Center in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Buck spoke to a room of more than 600 veterans, their families and friends, expressing his sincere gratitude for their service and the legacy of honor and valor they have bestowed upon all those who serve today. (U.S. Air Force photo by Capt. Nicholas Mercurio/Released)

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- As we prepare to enjoy a well-deserved day off, it is important to me that we not lose sight of the significance of this day.  This day is for you, the men and women of 14th Air Force and Joint Functional Component Command for Space, those of you in uniform and in civilian service, who have dedicated your lives in defense of our Nation.

This day is also for those who have come before you, brave American men and women who heeded their nation's call, both in times of dire need and in times when it may not have been the fashionable or popular decision.  It is upon their legacy of honor, duty and valor that the foundation of our military service is built; we stand today on the shoulders of giants.

I sometimes fear that as Americans, we take our freedom and our great way of life for granted.  It is too easy in the fast-paced world we live in today to become caught up in the churn of our daily lives.  When that happens, we lose perspective of the courage and sacrifice which was required to guarantee the amazing gifts each American is bestowed as a birthright. 

On Oct. 29, I was invited to speak at a WWII and Korean War Veterans Tribute.  I was humbled by the honor of addressing a room full of men and women who have given so much to a country they hold so dear.  As I spoke, I knew my words could never convey the gratitude in my heart, nor could it capture the pride I feel every day donning this uniform and serving alongside each and every one of you.

One day can't capture what has been, for many, a lifetime of sacrifice . . . borne not only by those who have devoted their lives in service to our Nation, but also by the families who continue to bear the often unheralded burden of a loved-one's service.  As we think about our approach to Veterans Day, I encourage you not to forget to thank all of the mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and daughters, friends and loved ones who have shared in their Veteran's service.

Tomorrow, let us all make a conscious effort to pause and reflect on the debt we owe to all Veterans, past and present, and the loved ones who continue to support them.  It is a debt which, while it cannot be repaid, can be honored by upholding the values of liberty and justice in our lives each day.

Thank you for all you do.