Vice President Mike Pence recognized Saturday the “debt of honor and the debt of gratitude” the nation will “never be able to fully repay” to members of Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard for their service during a speech to commemorate Armed Services Day.
Pence told the gathered servicemen and women, “Every American is grateful, and every American is proud” of the five U.S. armed services as he spoke at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
“[The president] will faithfully support you just as you have faithfully stood forward to defend our nation and the precious gift of freedom.”
“The Good Book tells us, if you owe debts, pay debts. If honor, then honor. If respect, then respect,” Pence said. “And today is merely one more installment on behalf of the American people on a debt of honor and the debt of gratitude we’ll never be able to fully repay to all of you who served.”
“And really, as I said before, I’m just here on President Trump’s behalf while he’s on the other side of the world, simply to say thank you,” Pence added.
The vice president noted that Wright-Patterson — the site of indispensable research and development for the U.S. — will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in just two days. After thanking the 5,200 active duty service members and 1,900 reservists for their sacrifices for their country, Pence said that their work “ensures the unquestioned dominance of the United States Air Force in the skies across the world.”
“And today is your day,” Pence said. “And President Trump is proud to continue that tradition this year. In honor of Armed Forces Day, the President issued a proclamation in his words to ‘salute the bravery of those who defend our nation’s peace and security.’ And salute you, we do.”
The vice president expressed the country’s profound gratitude for the 1.3 million Americans in the military and the 800,000 who stand in reserve, as well as their family members. Calling them “the unbreakable backbone of American freedom,” Pence said they are “the best of us.”
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Noting that both his father and wife’s father served in the U.S. military, Pence also recognized his son as a Marine as he identified with the military families and the unique calling they carry and jointly fulfill.
“You’re part of the cord of service that stretches back into the midst of American history. In every generation, the sons and daughters of liberty from every corner of our country have answered the call of duty and answered it with courage and self-sacrifice and commitment,” Pence said. “Their service and their sacrifice kept the flame of freedom alive in their time, and now you’ve stepped up and stepped forward to defend our freedom in your time.”
Reminding the military members and their families that Trump “has no higher priority than the safety and security of the American people,” the vice president promised that Trump “will be the best friend the Armed Forces of America will have ever had in the White House.”
Pence was pleased to report that Trump was working tirelessly to “restore the arsenal of democracy” and give the armed forces the resources and support they need to keep the country safe and free, including a $21 billion increase in funding. The vice president also pledged Trump’s continued aid in carrying out the “paramount mission of combating and defeating the terrorist threat to our nation in ISIS.”
“[The president] will faithfully support you just as you have faithfully stood forward to defend our nation and the precious gift of freedom,” Pence said.
As he expressed the nation’s support and continued prayers for this who serve in the U.S. armed forces, Pence said he was enthralled to celebrate the service members on that special day.
“You are patriots all. You’re heroes. Not just to your families and your community, but to every American. Frankly, you’re the pride of the American people, the best among us, and we’re grateful one and all,” Pence said.
“To wear the uniform of the United States of America plain and simple is to earn the eternal appreciation and the prayers of the American people,” Pence concluded. “And be confident of this: On this Armed Forces Day, your commander-in-chief and every American who lives under the protection that you provide will stand up this day and simply offer a word of thanks. And we salute you for your service.”