A crowd a little smaller than last years turned out at the Grass Valley Veterans Building this morning for a Veterans Day celebration. Opening remarks were made by Roger Haines, Commander of the American legion, Frank Gallino Post 130. Haines pointed to a table on the far side of the room….
The empty table is a tradition to represent the hope of those missing in action or taken prisoner during America’s military conflicts. Haines says every American Legion Post keeps a table set in the hopes of MIA’s or Prisoners of war returning home. He say, as of last August there are 83,086 missing still.
Emcee, Cap Wallington, Captain U.S. Navy (Ret.) presented a moving account of being in the service titled, “You can leave the military but it never really leaves you”
And Dawn Simmons sang the National Anthem.
click to listen to National Anthem
Keynote speaker Nate Beason presented lessons learned from America’s Military battles, and current threats our nation is facing. He also detailed the importance of keeping our military ready and on the alert today.
The service ended with Barbara Conner singing God Bless America as all veterans in the audience came to the front of the stage as their branch of service was announced. There were also 7 survivors of WWII attending the Veterans Day Ceremony .
There was a problem with the audio at the Grass Valley Veterans building that prevented it being recorded. Below is the text of Nate Beason’s Keynote Speech:
GOOD MORNING EVERYONE, AND THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME TODAY TO COME TO THIS EVENT TO EXPRESS OUR APPRECIATION TO OUR VETERANS FOR THEIR SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY.
AS A PRIVATE CITIZEN, I FEEL PRIVILEDGED TO MAKE A FEW REMARKS, AND AS A VETERAN I’M HONORED.
ONE OF THE QUESTIONS THAT OFTEN IS ASKED ABOUT VETERANS DAY IS “HOW CAN WE BEST EXPRESS OUR APPRECIATION FOR THE SERVICE OF OUR VETERANS?’ CLEARLY, A DAY LIKE TODAY IS IMPORTANT, BUT I THINK THERE IS A LARGER CONTEXT, IF YOU WILL.
I’M GOING TO TALK TODAY FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SOMEONE WHO HAS INVESTED 30 YEARS OF HIS LIFE IN THE DEFENSE OF THE REPUBLIC AND ABOUT THE ENDURING VALUE OF MILITARY SERVICE- THE NET RESULT OF THE DEDICATED SERVICE OF MILLIONS OF AMERICAN WOMEN AND MEN AND HOW WE CAN HONOR IT.
I WANT TO TALK ABOUT FREEDOM, INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY, EXCEPTIONALISM, AND OUR WAY OF LIFE–HOW VETERANS, TOGETHER, HAVE HELPED SHAPE OUR HISTORY AND OUR DESTINY.
BY NECESSIITY, THIS WILL BE A LITTLE OVERSIMPLIFIED BECAUSE OF THE MAGNITUDE OF THE SUBJECT, SO I BESEECH YOUR FORGIVENESS IN ADVANCE.
THE FOUNDERS OF OUR COUNTRY OFTEN HAVE BEEN REFERRED TO BY HISTORIANS AS “CHILDREN OF THE ENLIGHTENMENT,” MEANING THAT THEIR THINKING WAS CONDITIONED BY THE EMERGING PHILOSOPHIES IN EUROPE IN THE LATE 17th CENTURY AND 18TH CENTURY–THE CHANGING PERSPECTIVES ON SOCIETIES AND THE WAY THEY WERE OVERNED, ESPECIALLY THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE OVERNED AND THE MONARCH.
THE WESTERN LIBERAL TRADITION, AND I MEAN SMALL “L” LIBERAL, THAT WAS THEN IN ITS EARLY STAGES, BASICALLY DISPLACED THE NOTION OF DIVINE RIGHT MONARCHY WITH THE CONCEPT OF THE NATURAL, GOD-GIVEN RIGHTS OF INDIVIDUALS AND WITH THE RULE OF LAW. IN OTHER WORDS, THE RIGHTS OF CITIZENS ARE AT LEAST AS DIVINE AS THE RIGHTS OF THE MONARCH. AND, NO PERSON OR GOVERNMENT IS ABOVE THE LAW, NOT EVEN A KING OR QUEEN. YOU WILL NOTE THAT THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE REFERS TO “THE LAWS OF NATURE AND OF NATURE’S GOD…” AND THAT PEOPLE ARE “ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS,” AND THAT THEY RELY ON THE ‘PROTECTION OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE”. IN FACT, THROUGHOUT THE WRITINGS OF THE FOUNDERS YOU SEE REGULAR INVOCATION OF “PROVIDENCE” OR “DIVINE PROVIDENCE.”
THE THINKING WHICH TOOK HOLD IN AMERICA, ALTHOUGH IMPERFECT, WAS IN MANY WAYS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE INTELLECTUAL BASIS OF OUR REVOLUTION AGAINST ENGLAND. IT WAS HERE THAT OUR FIRST VETERANS AS A NATION FOUGHT–AND IN SOME CASES DIED–FOR THESE BELIEFS. BY DOING SO, THEY PLACED A STAKE IN THE GROUND FOR GENERATIONS OF VETERANS AND COMMON CITIZENS TO COME.
CONSEQUENTLY, THE QUESTION OF AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM ARISES. In its classic form, American exceptionalism refers to the special character of the United States as a uniquely free nation based on democratic ideals and personal liberty. SOME MAINTAIN THAT THIS IS A MYTH, AND THAT THE US IS NOT TRULY EXCEPTIONAL TODAY BECAUSE WE AREN’T THE ONLY FREE PEOPLE. I BELIEVE THERE IS STILL AN ARGUMENT FOR EXCEPTIONALSIM, BUT THAT’S FOR ANOTHER DAY. NEVERTHELESS, WE DO KNOW AT THE TIME OF THE FOUNDING THAT THE THINKING PREVALENT IN EUROPE WAS THAT THE US WAS EXCEPTIONAL. WE KNOW ALSO THAT THERE WERE FLAWS. SOME OF THESE FLAWS LED TO THE CIVIL WAR.
FROM THE TIME OF THE FOUNDING, FEELINGS OF SECTIONAL LOYALTIES RAN STRONG AMONG THE STATES, AND YOU COULD MAKE A GOOD CASE THAT THE UNITED STATES WERE NOT TRULY UNITED. THE ISSUE OF SLAVERY BECAME THE CENTRAL SECTIONAL DIVIDE AS THE US PUSHED INTO THE MID-19TH CENTURY, CULMINATING IN THE CIVIL WAR. MANY HISTORIANS MAINTAIN THAT THE CIVIL WAR WAS THE PRACTICAL, FINAL UNIFICATION OF THE STATES.
THE VETERANS OF THIS WAR NOT ONLY WERE THE INSTRUMENTS FOR ADVANCING THE FOUNDERS’ IDEA OF A “MORE PERFECT UNION.” BUT IT WAS ALSO A CASE WHERE MEN FOUGHT AND DIED NOT FOR THEIR OWN FREEDOM, BUT FOR THE FREEDOM OF OTHERS. not only did they remain faithful to the veterans of the revolution, THEY TOOK THAT LEGACY A STEP FURTHER.
World War ONE WAS another watershed for veterans. although the United States had been mOStly successful avoiding involvement in European conflicts for over 125 years, the US entered the war in 1917. The war marked the first time that the United States had sent troops to europe as the result of a declaration of war. of course, with the economic, SOCIAL and political development thaT occurred in america during the nineteenth cenTury, it was becoming increasingly clear that the US couldn’t isolate itself from world events. hERE AGAIN, those who served TOOK FREEDOM further BY fighting for the safety and security of non-us citzens. those who served remained true to the principle of protecting THE freedom and liberty ENVISIONED BY THE FOUNDERS- not only in the us, but in other western democracies.
world war I marked ALSO the beginning of THE END OF THE OLD EUROPEAN MONARCHICAL EMPIRES AND THE BEGINNING OF the RISE of the US as a world power. THE US had a stake in the world, and THE world HAD A STAKE IN THE US. POWER RELATIONSHIPS would be changed forever.
UNFORTUNATELY, THE ARMISTICE THAT SETTLED THE WAR, THE ARMISTICE FOR WHICH THIS DAY WAS ORIGINALLY NAMED, CONTAINED THE SEEDS OF WORLD WAR TWO, IN WHICH THE US AND HER SERVICE PERSONNEL WOULD PLAY A ROLE LARGER THAN EVER BEFORE AND HAVE A GLOBAL IMPACT.
SIMPLY PUT, THE VETERANS OF WORLD WAR ii SAVED DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD.
THEY SERVED NOT ONLY TO PROTECT OUR FREEDOMS, THEY FOUGHT NOT ONLY TO ESTABLISH OR PROTECT THE FREEDOMS OF OTHER PEOPLES,
THEY FOUGHT NOT ONLY TO LIBERATE PEOPLE HELD IN BOMDAGE BY THE EVIL THAT DEFINED THE FASCIST, AXIS POWERS
MOST IMPORTANT, THEIR VICTORY LITERALLY PRESERVED WESTERN CIVILIZATION, ARGUABLY THE MOST POTENT FORCE FOR GOOD IN WORLD HISTORY.
over 16 million americans in uniform joined with our allies and pushed back against a tide that could accuratley be described as THE THREAT OF barbarism. AS A RESULT, the lights of democracy were not extinguished.
YET AGAIN, THERE WERE CONSEQUENCES.
IN 1945, ATER SIX YEARS OF INTERNATIONAL VIOLENCE, JUST AS THE SEEDS OF WORLD WAR TWO GREW FROM THE CONDITIONS resulting from WORLD WAR ONE, THE ROOTS OF THE COLD WAR CAN BE FOUND IN WORLD WAR II. some liked to DEFINE THE COLD WAR AS “no peace,” no war.” IT WAS a CONTEST BETWEEN TWO MAJOR POWERS, TWO FORMER MILITARY ALLIES
A CONTEST BETWEEN THE HEIRS OF TWO DIVERGENT POLITICAL PHILOSOPHIES
A CONTEST BETWEEN DEMOCRACY AND ENLIGHTENED GOVERNMENT ON THE ONE HAND AND TOTALITARIAN, COLLECTIVIST GOVERNMENT, ON THE OTHER.
THE LEGACY OF RUSSIA AND THE SOVIET UNION, WHETHER UNDER CSARS, OR COMMUNITSTS, OR TODAYS BAND OF THUGS LED BY VLADIMIR PUTIN, WHATEVER THE NAME, HAS BEEN A perpetual TOTALITARIAN STATE. SOME HAVE CALLED ITS LEGACY A NATIONAL PENAL COLONY.
THE POST WORLD WAR TWO ERA WITNESSED FOR THE FIRST TIME THE GARRISONING OF SIGNIFICANT NUMBERS OF US FORCES OVERSEAS, PRIMARLY IN EUROPE AND ASIA.
COLD WAR VETERANS STOOD WATCH AS PART OF A DETERRENT FORCE READY TO COUNTER ANY SOVIET OR CHINESE MOVES IN EUROPE AND ASIA OR ANY “PROXY” ACTIVITIES AROUND THE WORLD. “DETERRENCE” BECAME A COMMON TERM, PARTICULARLY WHEN USED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE THERMO NUCLEAR WEAPONS CAPABILITIES OF THE MAJOR POWERS.
NOT ONLY DID THE VETRANS OF THE COLD WAR AND VETERANS OF THE CONFLICTS OF THE COLD WAR ERA PROTECT THEIR OWN NATIONAL INTERESTS AND THAT OF THEIR ALLIES, THEY ESTABLISHED A “PRESENCE” OR PEACKEEPING MISSION IN WHICH THEY PROVIDED A BULWARK FOR FREEDOM THAT ENDURES TODAY–AROUND THE WORLD AS WELL AS AT HOME
AS I MENTIONED, THE cold war environment WAS ONE IN WHICH VARIOUS “PROXY WARS” WERE FOUGHT AROUND THE GLOBE, THE kOREAN AND vIETNAM WARS BEING THE MOST PROMINENT, SIGNIFICANT, AND THE MOST COSTLY. THE VETERANS OF THESE ASIAN WARS EXPERIENCED FOR THE FIRST TIME WARFARE IN WHICH MAJOR RESTRICTIONS WERE PLACED ON THE BATTLEFIELD. THE “TOTAL WAR” CONCEPT OF PREVIOUS CONFLICTS WAS DISCARDED FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, MANY OF WHICH WERE POLITICAL AND SOME OF WHICH REFLECTED THE MINDFULNESS OF THE NUCLEAR ARSENALS OF THE TWO MAJOR POWERS AND THEIR POTENTIAL FOR MASS DESTRUCTION.
CONSEQUENTLY, THE POLITICAL RESULTS IN KOREA AND VIET NAM WERE MIXED. WHAT DIDN’T CHANGE WAS THE VALOR, DEDICATION, PROFESSIONALISM AND COMMITMENT OF OUR FIGHTING FORCES WHO, LARGELY UNRECOGNIZED AND UNDERAPPRECIATED AT THE TIME, HAVE IN THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS BEEN RECEIVING DESERVED RECOGNITION AND RESPECT. tHE VETERANS OF BOTH OF THESE WARS SERVED WITH DISTINCTION UNDER VERY DIFFICULT CIRCUMSTANCES, IN THE TRADITION LAID DOWN DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION.
TODAY, IN THE LATE 20TH CENTURY, AND IN THE 21ST CENTURY, WE HAVE CONTINUED TO FACE CHANGING, BUT NO LESS LETHAL THREATS TO OUR WAY OF LIFE. THE ATTACKS ON THE US HOMELAND ON 9/11 AGAIN PROVOKED A MAJOR RESPONSE AND THE RESULTING WARS IN IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF TROOPS AND 14 YEARS LATER, THERE IS A NEW COHORT OF VETERANS WHO ANSWERED THE CALL ONCE AGAIN, THIS TIME IN A REMOTE DESOLATE REGION CONFRONTING BRUTAL TACTICS FROM A RUTHLESS OPPOSITION. WE SHOULD BE ESPECIALLY PROUD OF THESE VETERANS WHO SERVED AND CONTINUE TO SERVE GALLANTLY.
THERE ARE LESSONS FROM CONFLICT. MILLIONS OF BOOKS, ARTICLES, AND PHd DISSERTATIONS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN ABOUT THE CAUSES AS WELL AS THE LESSONS OF WAR. mY PURPOSE HERE TODAY IS NOT TO DISCUSS THOSE LESSONS. TODAY i HAVE BUT ONE LESSON FOR US–NO MATTER WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT A PARTICULAR WAR, NO MATTER HOW JUSTIFIED OR UNJUSTIFIABLE IT MAY HAVE BEEN FOR YOU, ONE LESSON STANDS OUT. OUR VETERANS HAVE ALWAYS ANSWERED THE CALL. tHEY HAVE ALWAYS SERVED WELL AND WITH DISTINCTION. THEIR ACTIONS HAVE CONSISTENTLY HEWN CLOSELY TO THE PRINCIPLES AND TRADITIONS OF THE FOUNDERS AND TO THE SPIRIT AND FIDELITY OF OUR FIRST VETS IN THE REVOLUTION. OUR VETERANS HAVE TRULY HELPED SHAPE OUR SOCIETY AND OUR SOCIETY’S ROLE AS A FORCE FOR GOOD IN THE WORLD.
AS i SAID AT THE BEGINNING, WE OWE OUR VETERANS OUR THANKS AND MUCH MORE–WE OWE VETERANS AND THE HERITAGE THEY HAVE GIVEN US OUR CONTINUING COMMITMENT. THAT COMMITMENT IS TO CONTINUE TO BE STRONG ENOUGH AND WILLFUL ENOUGH TO STAND UP TO ANY THREAT FROM ANY QUARTER OF THE GLOBE—
i’M NOT ARGUING FOR WAR, i’M ARGUING FOR DETERRENCE THROUGH STRENGTH.
AS WE LOOK AT EVENTS in the mIDDLE eAST, THE RUSSIAN MISCHIEF IN EUROPE, AND THE GROWING THREAT OF cHINA IN THE PACIFIC, WE SHOULD MAINTAIN THE STRENGTH AND RETAIN THE WILL TO MAKE IT CLEAR THAT THE US SHALL BE NOT ONLY STRONG BUT ENGAGED.
IF WE REMAIN STRONG AND DEMONSTRATE A NATIONAL WILL, WE WILL TRULY HONOR ALL THE MILLIONS OF VETERANS WHO HAVE MADE INDIVIDUAL CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE GREAT LEGACY THAT HAS PRESERVED OUR WAY OF LIFE.
IN SO DOING, WE WILL BE FAITHFUL NOT ONLY TO THEIR SERVICE-WE WILL LIFT IT UP- LIFT IT UP IN TRIBUTE TO THE ONES WHO HAVE NEVER LET US DOWN.