October 17, 2021

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Iowa National Guard 2020 Veteran’s Day Full Message

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Iowa National Guard 2020 Veteran’s Day Full Message
JOHNSTON, IA, UNITED STATES
10.26.2020

Brig. Gen. Ford Iowa National Guard 2020 Veteran’s Day Full Message

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here today as we celebrate Veterans Day and recognize all who have served, and continue to serve, our nation with honor and distinction.
For those of you who do not know me I am, Brigadier General Shawn Ford and I am a Deputy Adjutant General with the Iowa National Guard.
I realize it may be a bit different this year as we recognize our veterans, but veterans are resilient people and I know a virus pandemic will not stop loyal citizens from continuing to answer the call whenever – wherever.
In every generation, you or someone you know, has answered the call to serve in our Armed Forces. Their service and patriotism are definitive examples of their character. When they speak of the United States of America, and what this country represents, they stand tall, and their eyes turn misty in remembrance of their brothers and sisters in arms, who they proudly call family. These individuals we honor today are United States veterans.
We commemorate Veterans Day on November 11, in honor of all those who have served our nation in uniform. We pause to honor the brave men and women from all walks of life who have stepped forward to defend our nation throughout our history. We do this to ensure that their service and sacrifice is never overlooked or forgotten.
We celebrate Veterans Day on the anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting along the Western Front in World War I. On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, the battlefields of Europe fell silent after more than four years of fighting. In 1919, one century ago, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed, November 11th, “Armistice Day.” In 1938, Congress made it an official holiday.
This year we commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day and the beginning of the liberation of Western Europe during World War II. A significant piece of that history includes the role of the 34th Infantry Division, a National Guard Division filled with Soldiers mainly from Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas.
In the spring of 1944, the Red Bulls, as the Division is still known today, fought a series of decisive battles across Italy. Despite hard fighting and challenging terrain, the Red Bulls managed a breakout that eventually led them all the way to Rome, where they helped liberate this ancient city and set the conditions for the surrender of Germany one year later.
It is the contributions of veterans like this from the “Greatest Generation” as well as those who served during Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War, the Global War on Terrorism, and countless other military actions that we pause to remember today.
While many fight on the front lines, every veteran that serves is important in the success of our military. Cooks, nurses, drivers, mechanics, signalers, medics, and so many others, are all part of a cohesive team that makes the U.S. military the strongest fighting force the world has ever known.
As military service changes these veterans, these veterans change our society for the better. They fight for peace and freedom, and serve their nation proudly. Once their service is over, they return to civilian life, or continue their service in the Guard and Reserves, and continue to make a difference.
Regardless of the military branch our veterans have served – Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, or Space Force – this day belongs to them. Generations of patriots have dedicated themselves to the defense of our country which makes us stronger and more resilient as a nation.
Service members live by military values including loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, personal courage and excellence in all we do. They do not leave behind their values and skills when they transition to civilian life.

Film Credits: Video by Capt. Kevin Waldron
Joint Forces Headquarters, Iowa National Guard

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