Feb 14 2002


WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), in honor of the Calhoun County Commission's Veterans Appreciations Day, commented on the sacrifices of Alabama veterans:

"I want to thank the Calhoun County Commission for allowing me this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to all the veterans present today and to join with you through these words to acknowledge the sacrifices of so many other proud Alabamians who have served so bravely down through the years. I want to offer a special word of gratitude to retired Chief Warrant Officer Mike Novosel, retired Marine Corps General Raymond Davis, and retired Army Colonel Ola Mize for their participation in this ceremony and for their extraordinary service to our country."

"I offer these words in honor and in memory of every American who has answered the call to arms, for every American who has freely stepped forward under our Star Spangled Banner, and for every American who has given their life in the name of freedom. These men and women are America's greatest heros. Our nation has flourished and enjoys unprecedented prosperity to this day because of our veterans' willingness to give themselves in service to our nation so others might live free.

"Our national story and the story of the American people is one of amazing courage in difficult times, and a proud tradition of triumph in the face of our enemies here and abroad. America has always been ready to act. The footprints left and the blood spilled by our soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors, and coast guardsmen around the world remain as a testament to the indomitable American spirit, our collective faith in the power of freedom, and to the promise of a great future.

"Everyone should take the time to read the Medal of Honor citations of Alabama's greatest heros. Three of these heros are with you today. They represent a relatively small group of Americans but their lives and their actions provide one of the greatest inspirations of hope for America I can find.

"America and our allies are again fighting to defend the world against tyranny and evil, and I know our men and women in uniform operating in Afghanistan will stand with the same steadfast resolve exhibited by those you gather to honor today. Over and over again, history has proven those who doubted America's resolve to be dead wrong. The most recent examples – the Taliban and Al Qaeda – are suffering the wrath of American justice this very day. Our best and brightest are carrying the mantle of freedom forward. I take great solace in knowing that the patriotism and heroism of Americans has been a constant for hundreds of years and will continue to be in the future.

"We are indebted to so many. It is best we leave the understanding of their sacrifice in God's hands—only He can truly know the full measure of what was lost and what was gained. Our responsibility is to acknowledge their sacrifice—to remember that it was made and the reasons for which it was made. They deserve our deepest respect and honor. God bless our fallen heroes. And may God continue to bless the United States of America."

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