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A message to our retired military members

  • Published
  • By Col. Laura L. Lenderman
  • 375th Air Mobility Wing commander
We take great pride in hosting our retired heroes as Scott AFB celebrates its 30th Annual Retiree Appreciation Day. Honoring the men and women who have worn our nation's uniform is truly a privilege. We are indebted to all of you, though it is a debt we can never truly repay. We owe you our very way of life including our freedom to live, work, and raise our families in a free nation. Pausing for one day to celebrate your accomplishments is the very least we can do to thank you for all you've done for our great country.

More than 48 million Americans have served in our military since 1776. In 1818, Congress passed legislation identifying requirements to qualify as a military retiree. Almost 50 years later, in 1865 Abraham Lincoln made a promise in his Second Inaugural Address when he said that America would " for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and orphan." Currently, that promise applies to over 2 million retirees and 330,000 widows and widowers who we owe so much to today.

The legacy of our retired military members is a proud and honorable one. Throughout our nation's history, retired military members have acted nobly, liberating countries from the hands of dictators, engaging in harrowing humanitarian acts, and bolstering peace around the world. As retirees, you can take pride in knowing that your service has resulted in the establishment of hundreds of emerging and well-developed democracies, millions of lives saved from various natural disasters, and the liberation of entire nations from tyranny.

You are our nation's unsung heroes. However, we must never forget how much we owe to all of you and your families. During your time in uniform, your missed holidays and anniversaries while fighting alongside our Allies in Europe, North Africa, and the Pacific during World War II...You missed wedding anniversaries and graduations while serving in Korea and Vietnam...You celebrated birthdays and promotions amidst the stinging sandstorms of the Iraqi desert and in the mountains of Afghanistan. Today, we recognize and express our gratitude for you and your families' sacrifices over the years, so that others may be free.

To all our retired veterans, and on the behalf of Team Scott, we say "thank you." Thank you for your ceaseless dedication, selfless service, and continue support of our men and women in uniform. May God bless all of you, your families, and the Unites States of America.