Ambassador Mark Lippert
Veterans’ Day Ceremony
8th Army War Memorial
November 11, 2014 :
Ladies and gentlemen, it is my privilege as the Ambassador of the United States of America to the Republic of Korea to be here today as we honor and commemorate the service and sacrifice of our Veterans.
Each year, the American people come together to pay tribute to those men and women who have sacrificed so much to keep our country safe, secure and free.
From all walks of life from every corner of our great nation, Americans mark this day in many ways: through solemn refection, celebratory parades – at community centers and war memorials.
Both veterans and non-veterans alike take time to give thanks.
While Veterans Day has a special meaning in the United States, it has unique significance here on the Korean Peninsula, where we stand just miles from one of the last remaining fault lines of the Cold War.
Here, one can see the stark contrast between the two sides of this fault line. Here one can see the freedom, economic prosperity, and democratic government of the South juxtaposed to the dire situation in the North.
Each and every day, this serves as clear and tangible reminder of what we owe to the veterans of our two countries – and those of the other Sending States – that fought and died here on the Peninsula.
For over 60 years, the United States and the Republic of Korea have produced the some of the finest men and women in uniform to deploy around the world in pursuit of a greater good.
Many representing this great tradition are gathered here today. Many we can only honor though a fond memory or story passed down from an elder or a faded newspaper clipping in a scrapbook.
These are the selfless individuals who have all too often put themselves in harms’ way to defend the cause of liberty, establish democracy and protect the freedom our two nations cherish and hold dear.
So on this special day we thank and honor our veterans for their invaluable and lasting contributions.
And each and every day we will continue to honor this service by building on this legacy.
We will use the strong foundation that you have laid.
Here on the Peninsula, we will use this great alliance – forged by more than 6 decades of shared sacrifice – to keep this country secure; to advance peace and security in Northeast Asia; and to ensure the world is a better place for our children.
In closing, let me say that Veterans day is truly special.
Let’s all take time to reflect and honor those who have served in the past for all they have done; let’s celebrate and praise those who are protecting our freedom here in the present-day; and let’s all work together for a stronger more prosperous future.