Community leaders and residents gathered at Auburn's Veteran's Memorial Monday morning in celebration of Veteran's Day.
“We’re here today at the 11th hour of the 11th month on the 11th day,” said Mayor Ron Anders. “We’re here today to recognize all of our veterans that provided us the freedom to be here on a beautiful morning in a great community.”
While officiating the ceremony, Anders said he wanted to continue the tradition of recognizing and thanking veterans who have served the country and who live in the community.
Capt. Alexander Goetz, a Marine officer instructor for the Auburn Tuskegee Naval ROTC Consortium, said there are over 1.4 million people actively serving in the military.
He said serving in the military is like “authoring a blank check, payable to the American people, up to and including the price of one's own life.”
Those who decide to author that check may choose to do so for several different reasons.
“The reasons for joining the military are many, and frankly there is no singular, one right reason,” Goetz said. “What I think is important to consider today, however, is not the reason one serves, but rather the legacy and impact one leaves after they take off their uniform for the last time.”
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Goetz spoke of the many reasons in the past that our military has taken up arms. Some of those reasons, he said, were to fight dictators, stop the spread of communism, fight regimes from forcing their beliefs on others and prevent the slaughter of millions.
“Considering the relative peace and domestic tranquility that my generation has enjoyed, coupled with the advancements in technology that make instant gratification as easy as the click of a button,” Goetz said. “Why would anyone my age choose the military, with so many easier, more lucrative options available?”
For Goetz, he decided to join the military because of veterans. He said he wanted to honor the service and sacrifice of all the veterans who came before him.
“It was your service that inspired me to do the same, and it changed my life forever,” Goetz said. “Your sacrifice challenged me, your selflessness humbled me and your courage, determination and patriotism have inspired me to try to become a better version of myself.”
Goetz spoke about the impact and legacy of veterans and how their service continues to shape the U.S. and the American people.
“This might be a little bit of a bold claim, but on behalf of that 1.4 million I mentioned earlier, to each veteran present I would like to sincerely, and with the highest degree of respect, thank you for your service,” Goetz said.
Goetz also spoke about military spouses, families and other loved ones that support military personnel. He said their strength and support also plays a big role in the military.
“While today may be titled Veterans Day, your unwavering love and support for those in uniform, through deployments, long absences and other trials is a testimony to your strength, courage and devotion to our nation,” Goetz said.
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