Remarks of U.S. Ambassador Jean E. Manes
Veteran’s Day Ceremony 2018
Good morning to our Embassy community, and especially our veterans and active duty service members. It is an honor to also welcome some special guests to our Embassy, veterans who have chosen El Salvador as their home. And I would like to say it is a great pleasure to have Robert Machón, US Army World War II Veteran, with us again today.
The celebration of Veterans Day is a vivid reminder of the price which has been paid for our freedom and democracy. Today we thank you and honor the sacrifices that our veterans have made over the years, in service to our country. It has been said many times before, the United States remains the land of the free, because of the brave.
It takes a special kind of person to heed the call of service, to stand your ground when others seek shelter, to face unmentionable danger so others can stay safe. It takes people like you to uphold the principles that we all share: democracy, freedom and justice.
Like a number of our civilian colleagues here today, Hector and I had the privilege to serve side by side with our military colleagues in a war zone. While in Afghanistan, every Thursday morning there was what was called a “ramp ceremony” – – which is where we would all gather and honor those who had lost their lives that week. One by one the caskets, draped in an American flag, would be carried onto the back of the aircraft for their final trip home. At Country Team, the weekly meeting would begin with the Ambassador reading a list of the names of those fallen that week and their hometown and age followed by a minute of silence. It was a rare week when there was no ceremony and no names to read. Both were a stark reminder of the high stakes and sacrifice, commitment and dedication of our service members.
Today we recognize all of those who have served, and all of those who continue to serve, because selfless commitment to a just cause much larger than ourselves is what our nation was built on, it’s what has defined our path throughout the centuries since then, and is the light that will continue to guide us in the future. So to you all, on behalf of our Embassy community, American citizens, and a grateful nation, I offer our sincerest thanks and gratitude.
May God continue to bless you and the United States of America.