11/11/10 In honor of Veterans Day on Thursday, November 11th, State Representative Bill Friend released a statement Wednesday afternoon honoring the many Veterans who have served our country over the many years.

When our country was threatened by foreign powers, veterans bravely made the ultimate sacrifice and fought to defend America’s freedom. Our nation’s veterans were not hung up on the stock market, the unemployment rate or debating the risk of being on the battlefield. Instead, they suited up to fight for a much larger problem. Veterans went to fight for our country, and others.

Since 1776, more than 43 million Americans answered the call of duty to protect and serve. More than 43 million Americans courageously stood ground, through unimaginable conditions because of the passion and love they had for this country.

The United States is a relatively young country. It is only 234 years old, which is basically a toddler compared to other nations. The success of veterans has and will continue to guide the growth of America.

The opportunities and liberties Americans cherish today are due to veterans, and those veterans who have come before us. It’s because of those brave souls that we are the land of opportunity.

The definition of a veteran is “one who served in a military force, especially one who has fought in a war.” I believe that the definition of an American veteran is more than that. I would define an American veteran as, “the best of the best, who protected American beliefs, with superior character.”

Our veterans have risked their lives without asking for anything in return.

Former President George Washington once said:

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

President Washington was right. Without our nation’s veterans, we wouldn’t be here. Without honoring them, America wouldn’t have a future. Because we continue to honor our veterans, we continue to have the strongest and best defense system in the world.

I have never served in the military, but I do understand and appreciate what veterans have done. I personally, am indebted to their service.  Regardless if you oppose or support war, I hope we all understand the risk veterans took and what they have done for us.

I thank veterans every chance I get and I hope all Hoosiers can show their appreciation as well.

Five years ago, Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman started a program called “Hoosier Cheer for our Heroes.” This program allows Hoosiers to express their gratitude by sending messages via e-mail, video and snail mail to American servicemen and servicewoman overseas. Last year, the program collected more than 35,000 holiday wishes for our troops, and with the help of the Indiana National Guard and the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), we were able to ship them all to soldiers.

I encourage everyone to participate in “Hoosiers Cheer for our Heroes” because it a great way to let our troops know how much we appreciate them. 

To participate in “Hoosiers Cheer for our Heroes,” all cards, letters and messages must be sent in by Friday, November 19. Mail can be sent to the following address: Office of Lt. Governor Becky Skillman c/o Hoosier Cheer for Our Heroes, 200 West Washington Street, Suite 333, Indianapolis, IN 46204. You can also e-mail your messages to lg@lg.in.gov.

Videos can be sent in throughout the holiday season and must be e-mailed to lg@lg.in.gov.

Remember that Veterans Day is a day of gratitude. Without the brave efforts of our country’s veterans our lives would be very different. America would certainly not be nation that it has grown to become.

Thank you veterans, for defending us, thank you for protecting and defending our country, no matter what.

Thank you to all who have served.

 More later,

 Bill Friend