I consider it a high honor to serve as Mayor of the City of Clarksville, the home of Fort Campbell and a large number of military veterans and their families.
On Veterans Day, which we will celebrate Saturday with speeches and a parade and on Wednesday with a formal holiday, we honor all who serve and have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Today, America has about 17.5 million veterans and 2.26 million active and reserve military personnel across all branches.
While it is always fitting to remember those service members who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained in war, that is the specific purpose of Memorial Day, which we celebrate in May. Veterans Day -- and this is an important distinction -- is the day set aside to thank and honor all those who served honorably in the military — in wartime or peacetime.
Our veterans have borne the costs of America's wars -- and they have stood watch over America's peace. I know all Clarksville residents, and Americans everywhere, join me in gratitude for all who have served to protect our freedom.
Today’s veterans are drawn from many generations and from many backgrounds. Some charged across great battlefields. Some fought on the high seas. Some patrolled the open skies. And all contributed to the greatness of America.
We also continue to honor a new generation of men and women who are defending our freedom. Since Sept. 11, 2001, our Armed Forces have engaged a new enemy -- international terrorists -- on many fronts. Somewhere today, our forces confront grave danger to defend the safety of the American people.
We're humbled by the strong hearts of those who have served. Many of our veterans bear the scars of their service to our country -- and we are a community that will keep its commitments to those who have risked their lives for our freedom.
I ask all of you to consider volunteering at a veterans hospital or nursing home. I encourage you to work with our local Veterans Service Organization and other groups to help support our veterans and their families.
For me, Veterans Day is a day of prayers and thanks.
On behalf of a proud and grateful City of Clarksville, to all of our veterans of any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, and to every active duty member of our military, I say thank you. Thank you for defending and advancing our freedoms, our liberty and our American way of life. We pray for your safety and your success.
God bless our veterans, and all our troops, and their families. God bless Clarksville, and God bless America.