Veterans Day is the national holiday when we honor and thank our veterans - past and present - for their service. It's a day to Honor our Profession. Those of us not on watch have the choice to take Veterans Day off, however, we must always remember that we only have this choice because of our veterans' heroic service. Many of them had no choice-they had to go to war.
Our Nation owes its existence to the generations of Americans who have fought and died, and who continue to fight and die-or suffer physical and mental wounds-defending our freedoms. It's a debt that can't truly be paid. What we can do-what we must do-is to use this occasion to show our gratitude by honoring their service.
This is our chosen profession. This is who we are. This is what we do. It also makes us unique. Our Nation's all-volunteer 2.4 million and reservists, in a country of over 300 million, represents less than 1 percent of the American population. Our chosen profession has become something that few other people choose to do. In honoring those who went before us, we reinforce to their families and loved ones the significance of their sacrifices, and the gratitude we as a nation have for their commitment to something larger than themselves.
I encourage those of you not standing the watch to attend a local Veterans Day ceremony or parade or find some other meaningful way to honor those who serve, remember those who have served, and to humbly say thank you.
I, along with and our wives, will visit to attend the National Veterans Day Service at the , followed by a Service at the Coast Guard War Memorial. We hope to see many of our Shipmates in attendance - you are all welcome to join us.
For those of you standing the watch, protecting our homeland, or supporting our sister services in the global war on terror, thank you. You exemplify the very best of what it means to be Coast Guardsmen, and I am proud to share in the privilege of defending our freedoms.
Thank you to the Men and Women of the United States Coast Guard - past and present - for your selfless service.
Admiral Bob Papp