Veterans Day

Veterans Day is a time when the American people come together to celebrate and honor the men and women who have served in the military to keep our country safe, secure and free.   Whether it is a parade or simply a solemn moment of reflection, people all across the United States join together in various ways to pay their respects on this day.  I commemorated Veterans Day this year by attending the U.S. Marine Corps Birthday Ball to celebrate their 241 years of service to our nation.  And, I was invited to speak at the Yongsan Garrison’s Veterans Day ceremony and given a chance to express all of our gratitude for all that our veterans have sacrificed.

 Cake cutting ceremony at the 241st Marine Corps Birthday Ball

Presentation of the colors at the Veterans Day Ceremony

Of course, American troops have not fought all of their battles alone.  The U.S. and ROK troops share a special bond that was forged during the Korean War.  This bond has only continued to grow since then and has been strengthened as our troops have deployed together on many fronts, from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan.  Veterans Day is a day for us not only to commemorate our veterans, but also to recognize the hardships and sacrifices of the Korean military as we have stood together for over 60 years.

Placing a basket of flowers on the memorial monument

As a veteran myself, having served in Iraq and Afghanistan, this day has special significance for me.  It is an important reminder of all of the selfless individuals who often find themselves in harm’s way.  It is a reminder of the conflicts that occurred on this very peninsula and of those who fought and died here.  Their sacrifices will not be forgotten, and the liberty and democracy they protected is still something our veterans work hard to defend today.

Posing for a photo with veterans at the Veterans Day Ceremony

So it is my honor to say, to those who have served in the past, and to those who are serving right now wherever you may be, thank you for your service.  Thank you for protecting our freedom, and let us continue to work together to strengthen our bonds as we work toward a more cooperative and prosperous future.

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