History serves to illumine the present. Themes of Armed Forces Day in the recent past:
Appreciation of a NationArsenal of Freedom and DemocracyDedication and DevotionDeter if Possible, Fight if Necessary
FreedomFreedom Through UnityGuardians of PeaceLasting PeaceLibertyPatriotismPillars of FreedomPower for PeacePrepared to Meet the ChallengeProfessionalismProtectors of FreedomRealistic DeterrenceRepresentatives of the World's Mightiest DemocracySecuritySpecial Opportunity for ThanksTeamed for Defense
And expounding on those themes are countless voices, from both Church and state, expressing profound gratitude for those who honorably serve in the Armed Forces today:
"Peace we want; but there is none apart from sacrifice. Peace is not a passive but an active virtue. Our Lord never said 'blessed are the peaceful.' But he did say, 'blessed are the peacemakers.'"--Fulton Sheen, April 16, 1941
"The heritage of freedom must be guarded as carefully in peace as it was in war. Faith, not suspicion, must be the key to our relationships. Sacrifice, not selfishness, must be the eternal price of liberty. Vigilance, not appeasement, is the byword of living freedoms. Our Armed Forces in 1950--protecting the peace, building for security with freedom--are ‘Teamed for Defense’ ..." -- General Omar N. Bradley, 1950 Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
"It is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world."--Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1953
"We cannot, in this day of exploding world competition on all fronts, be content to maintain the status quo. We must also realize that the preservation of our freedom in the years ahead may require greater sacrifices from us than those made by Americans who have walked before us."--General Nathan F. Twining, 1960
-"The survival of our cherished freedoms id dependent in large measure upon the capbailities of our armed forces to discourage totaltarian aggression... the strenght of our armed forces rests not alone upon their active and reserve members, our industrial productivity, and our human resources, but also upon the understanding and supprt of an informed American people.... We seek to acknowledge and to manifest our appreciation for the dedication and self-sacrifice of the members of our armed forces and their families..."--John F. Kennedy, 1961
"The Armed Forces of the United States serve as a unified team, at home and at outposts throughout the world, insuring our own security and the security of our friends abroad, and fostering the settlement of international differences by peaceful processes."--Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965
"Armed Forces Day above all, honors the dedicated individuals who wear the uniforms of their country. Each serviceman, wherever he may be, whatever his task, contributes directly and importantly to the dfense of the nation. The task of each one is the taks of all Armed Forces: to protect the freedoms which underlie the greatness of America."--Gen. Earle G. Wheeler, Chairman, Joint Chief of Staff, 1908-1975
--"Each year we Americans set aside one day to honor the brave and dedicated men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. They serve our nation with dignity, courage, and pride in duty stations throughout the world. The peace we enjoy today reminds us of thier important role."--President Ronald Reagan, 1982
"The members of our military exemplify the true spirit of patriotism- a love of country expressed through a commitment to serve our Nation and defend our freedom. Their selfless dedication and determination are an inspiration to every American."--George W. Bush, 2002
"Those who serve in the armed forces are servants of the security and freedom of nations. If they carry out their duty honorably, they truly contribute to the common good of the nation and the mainenance of peace."--Catechism of the Catholic Church, ¶2310 "We serve eour country best when we serve God first."--Archbishop Charles Chaput Address to Air Force Academy, March 2009
"Blessed are the peacemakers."-- Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:9
In this Marian month of May, a month nationally dedicated as Military Appreciation Month, we invite everyone to join us in praying for our nation and our many deployed and returning veterans through the intercession of Our Lady of Victory. May we always serve honorably under her banner, and for God’s glory.
Prayer for those in the Armed Forces by Terence Cardinal Cooke
O God, almighty and most gracious, we acknowledge your dominion on earth and in the heavens, and the infinite love manifest in your relationship with all people. As the Creator you have made the world and invited us to share in its development; as the Redeemer, you saved the world and invited us to participate in its salvation.
Give to the men and women of the Armed Servicesthe wisdom and courage to so live and sacrifice that,with justice maintained and true liberty safeguarded,all people everywhere may be possessed of that peace which you alone can give.
As they are called to engage in dangerous missions, be with them, their constant support and their ultimate goal. May they know your continuous care and protection as they give of themselves that others may know security and peace. Amen. Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!
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Five years ago, we witnessed the terrorist attacks against the sanctity of human life and the common good, and we must defend these goods in a manner which is consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Appeasement has never shown itself to be the friend of peace; therefore, we must act in a just manner to confront the evil of terrorism so that the world may be a safe and peaceful place for generations to come.
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