2017 Veterans Day Address Presented by Mayor Ruben Pineda
November 11, 2017
American Legion Post 300
123 Main Street
Good morning and on this 11th hour, on the 11th day, of the 11th month. I’d like to say thank you to my friends at the American Legion Post 300 for inviting me to say a few words to convey the City’s deep respect and gratitude for the men and women who have served our country; those sitting in this room, those presently serving; and those who have gone before us and now rest in cemeteries here and across the nation. Today is a day to celebrate and honor each and every one of them.
The American Legion reminds us today, Veterans Day 2017, that fifty years ago, gratitude was in short supply among many segments of the American public. Heroes returned from Vietnam and were discouraged from wearing their uniforms in public places due to the disrespectful actions of some protestors and others who disagreed with policies that were set by the nation’s leaders of the day.
Now fast forward to 2017 and we see similar, misdirected expressions of political discontent among some of our fellow Americans toward what we should all find sacred – that the men and women who stand behind the flag of our great nation have willingly underwritten our freedom by their duty, honor and selfless service to that very flag.
Our veterans have all given something of themselves to this country, and some have given all – laying down their lives to defend the freedoms we hold so dear. It is up to us to ensure that every veteran feels that his or her service to this country is appreciated, that we are united with them, and that we may be faithful stewards of the freedom they have secured for us.
Peacetime or wartime, all veterans have taken an oath of their willingness to offer their lives to defend our constitution and country. When war is necessary, America’s military men and women always, let me say that again, always come forward and put their country first.
Think about this, just five years after liberating two continents in the Second World War, our military again answered the call in Korea, where 35,000 Americans made the ultimate sacrifice so others could be free.
Generations later, they served in places like the Persian Gulf, Beirut, Grenada, Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq.
And speaking of a couple of those areas, my Nephew, Staff Sergeant Edward Thomas Pineda, class of W.C. High School 2003, performed 6 tours, 1 in Iraq & 5 in Afghanistan.
Today I am proud to announce, for the 1st time, that he is now a Veteran.
He made it home safe.
He did join the National Guard though. He continues to protect.
Today, men and women in uniform are providing humanitarian aid and rescuing victims of natural disasters. Some serve in war zones and risk their lives on a daily basis. Some are Reservists and some are in the National Guard.
And while each takes pride in their branch of service, when an enemy threatens, or a mission surfaces, they join together as one family and meet the challenge.
That is what veterans do. Country first.
Certainly, there are many outward ways in which we can acknowledge our gratitude through our actions and words; we must continue to help veterans and their families by providing services and programs that assist them with the many issues and invisible wounds that they deal with as a result of their service.
Yet, let us not forget the simplest, most humble way to convey the eternal debt we owe – a direct thank you for their unwavering service to our country, our flag and the people of this great nation.
Let us find every opportunity to do so.
Thank you for giving me the honor of speaking of and to our veterans today.
They have given us freedom, security and the greatest nation on earth.
May God bless our veterans today and always.
May God bless West Chicago and may God bless this great country, the United States of America.
Video of 2017 Veterans Day Observance – Courtesy of William Doggett