A soldier stands guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery
“The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it. And the glow from that fire can truly light the world.”
That quote is inscribed on the Kennedy Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. JFK delivered it as part of his inaugural address in January of 1961, and was referring not to a scientific venture, nor to contentious legislation, but to the cause of “defending freedom in its maximum hour of danger.” He went on to challenge the nation, asking us to find it within ourselves to better serve our country. Generations of Americans have answered that call and many others through service in our armed forces; we honor them today.
Today is Veterans Day, and the Secretary, the President, the Vice President, and other government officials participated in events around the country today to pay respect to our veterans' contributions.
Secretary Napolitano and Admiral Thad Allen participate in a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 2009
Secretary Napolitano joined U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Admiral Thad Allen at a wreath laying ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony to honor all those who have served in the 219 years since its inception:
“Today we pay our deepest respect to the courageous men and women of who have served the U.S. Armed Forces and who currently risk their lives at home and abroad. The tragic events of recent weeks remind us of the tremendous sacrifice those in uniform make every day for our Nation, and I am proud to count the Department of Homeland Security’s 47,000-strong veteran workforce and the men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard as colleagues in our mission to protect the country,” said Secretary Napolitano.
The Secretary also penned an entry in our Leadership Journal - committing the department to employ 50,000 veterans by 2012 - and reminding us that we must work to honor their contributions throughout the year. We encourage you to visit the White House Blog for a roundup of events and remarks from the President, Vice President, and other cabinet secretaries.