For a dozen years now, we have been at war.
Unlike past wars of any duration, this war has been fought by all-volunteer armed forces, with no conscripts.
In those years, we have seen systemic problems with the care afforded veterans, psychological stressors significantly effect 10-18% of returned veterans, and approximately 7,000 fatalities.
I lay all this out to remind any who read of the price our current generation of soldiers, sailors, Marines, Air Force and all others who serve have paid and are paying for their decision to defend this Nation.
Whatever one thinks of the advisability or execution of particular missions or wars, those who pledge to serve at the Nation's command are owed a debt by all of us.
Just as those who fell in the past are owed a debt: that of remembrance.
I've mentioned in the past my father's stepfather, who served with honor in World War II, and helped liberate a concentration camp. I have never known a gentler man; all the anger and cruelty men may carry in our hearts was, I believe, burned out of him, by what he saw in those years.
My maternal grandfather enlisted in World War I, though he never saw combat.
They lived, but so many died. Herman Wouk described, in War and Remembrance World War II thus: "Men fight as far away from home as they can be transported, with courage and endurance that makes on proud of the human race, in horrible contrivances that make one ashamed of the human race."
We're still there.
So we pause today, and remember.