“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell
If that is the definition of a hero, than our veterans are the true heroes of America. America, this beacon of hope, ever present flame, a place of refuge and escape for so many different people groups. America, who has taken steps to protect the unprotected time and time again. Our heroes are the ones who have seen what the world has needed and acted on it, the ones who have protected us endlessly with their great move to action.
Yes, we are gathering now to celebrate Veterans Day, but this is a holiday that should be celebrated more than once a year. For 365 days, or 8,760 hours, or 575,600 seconds, every year we are being protected courageously by people we have often times never even met. If that is not impactful, I do not know what is.
We owe more to these complete strangers than we do to anyone else. As Maya Angelou once said, “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” Because, it is so important to be able to stand here and give a speech. It is so important to be able to vote, to be able to express ourselves, to be able to clothe ourselves in whatever we choose with dignity, and to feel safe walking down the street.
There is no people group, no political party, no club or sport or coalition that is nearly as strong, or nearly as radiant, as the veterans gracing this room and rooms like this throughout the world. So thank you, thank you to all the strangers and close friends and relatives and neighbors that have taken their lives and transformed them into heroic moments that have forever transformed mine. You are the embodiment of hope, you are the reason we can continue to live the way we do today in freedom indefinitely.
Written and spoken at a Veteran’s Day assembly after a speech by Florida State Representative, Holly Raschein.