Veterans Day Celebration
PREPARED REMARKS FOR
Three days ago I was on the campus of Tuskegee University to give their convocation. And I thought of the Tuskegee Airmen and Benjamin O. Davis. Outstanding fighter pilots, brave and skilled. They fought to liberate North Africa and Italy, earning distinction at Anzio and Monte Cassino. They were a significant part of the effort to free Europe from tyranny.
And when the Tuskegee Airmen returned to America from Europe, their service did not end. Many airmen helped lead the fight to integrate the military, and then to end segregation in our country. And Benjamin Davis became the first black general.
Military service often leads to a life of service. Like the Tuskegee Airmen, many members of our Armed Forces make tremendous sacrifices to keep our country safe, to make it possible for you and I to live in safety and security. And then they find other ways to serve, in government, in business, in non-profits, and in the clergy. After all, our first president was a veteran.
Simply put, we wouldn�t have this country, we wouldn�t have the freedoms enjoyed in other countries, without our Armed Forces. And for those who have recently served in Afghanistan and Iraq, thank you for fighting aggression and terrorism. Your task was not easy. Sometimes it must seem a lonely, thankless task. But you should always know that our people and our president support you and are very, very thankful for your service at this moment in history.
Today we honor our veterans, and thank them for their good work and their service to our people. I would especially like to thank the many veterans who have chosen a career in government service. This is commitment times two�government service as a way to continue their life of service after the military.
For example, there are over 1200 veterans who work at HUD, about 14 percent of our workforce. Some of you, like Steve Banko, are here today. I would like you to stand and be recognized. (applause)
Thank you�all of you�for your service and dedication and sacrifice.
And Steve (Banko), thanks for coming down from New York to be with us today.
Again, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming. Our department is better, stronger, and nobler because of the good work of our veterans. All of us at HUD are proud of you and honored to serve with you.