Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, Karen. And how about another round of applause for the Second Lady of the United States? (Applause.) She is traveling across the country meeting with military families, and I’m just so proud of the work she’s doing.
To General Bussiere, to General O’Neil, to Chief Master Sergeant Wolfe, to all of the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who are here, on behalf of your Commander-in-Chief, it is my great honor to say to each and every one of you: Thank you for your service here at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. You Arctic Warriors make us proud every single day. (Applause.) You do.
In particular to be with you today, a very, very special day in the life of this nation every year. It’s been a very special day in the life of this nation. It was 100 years ago on this day on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, the 11th month that the guns fell silent in World War I. American and freedom were victorious.
And today, the President of the United States paid his respects at an American cemetery in Paris and joined world leaders to remember Armistice Day. And let it be a testament to all of you in uniform today, and all of you that have served in uniform, that this nation will never forget, no matter the passage of time, we will never forget the service and sacrifice of the men and women of our armed forces. That’s our pledge to each of you. (Applause.)
More than 4 million Americans served in World War I. More than 117,000 paid the ultimate sacrifice for freedom, and we remember them today and we honor their memory today.
But today — it was shortly after this day 100 years ago, it was known as Armistice Day then; it would then eventually become that day every year when we remember all of the men and women who’ve served in the uniform of the United States. And so could I just ask of the veterans in the room, would you all mind, since this is your day — the veterans in the room, would you mind standing, if you’re able? Standing where you are today — give us one more chance to say thank you for your service to the United States of America. Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you. Thank you for your service.
Today is your day. It’s a day that the American people pay a debt of gratitude to; that we can never fully repay. This is an all-volunteer military. You step forward in virtually every case to honor a commitment to defend this nation. And we honor — we honor your service today.
I also want to tell you that I truly do believe President Donald Trump is the best friend America’s veterans have ever had. From the first day of this administration, we’ve been working to keep our promises to America’s veterans.
And I’m pleased to report to you: With the strong support of majorities in Congress and, frankly, with the support of Senator Lisa Murkowski, who is with us today, and Senator Dan Sullivan, who sends his regards, we are once again giving our veterans across this country access to the world-class, real-time healthcare that you earned in the uniform of the United States of America. Veterans Choice is now a part of the law and it’s a reality for every veteran here in Alaska and all across America. (Applause.)
The President and I are also grateful — we’re also grateful that Congress this year passed historic legislation to create all new Accountability at the VA. More than 4,000 individuals have been dismissed from VA hospitals and clinics across the country for not providing adequate care. We are going to ensure that America’s best get America’s best. And now, we will, with all new Accountability at the VA. (Applause.)
And lastly, I know with all the active-duty service men and women in the room, our veterans know that the best way that we keep faith with those who served in the uniform is by keeping faith with those who are serving still. And I have to tell you, as the proud father of a United States Marine, as the son of combat veteran from the Korean War, I couldn’t be more proud to serve alongside a President who has worked with this Congress to make the largest investment in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan.
We’re rebuilding out military and restoring the arsenal of democracy. And our pledge to you, the men and women in uniform here at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, is we will not relent until we provide you with the resources and the support and the training that you need to accomplish your mission and come home safe. That’s our pledge to each and every one of you. (Applause.)
But Karen and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity — I’m going to stop short there just to — the opportunity to come by and say to all of you, thank you for your service, the past and present. And I see a little — a few little faces in the room, so we may some future servicemen and women in the room as well.
But thank you for what you do each and every day for the United States of America. On behalf of a grateful nation, it’s an honor to be with all of you on this Veterans Day and at this historic base to acknowledge the contribution and the sacrifice that each one of you and your families make.
And while I mentioned families at the end, let me give all the servicemen in the room an opportunity — how about a big round of applause for all the spouses and all the children who support you each and every day as you serve our nation? Would you join me? (Applause.)
This is a historic day. It’s a day when we remember 100 years ago when American fighting forces made a difference for freedom, and the guns fell silent. And we do right to pause and remember that.
We made history 100 years, and America emerged in so many ways a different nation on the world stage at the close of World War I. We thought that was “the war to end all wars.” The 20th century would teach us differently. But we would eventually learn that peace does come, but peace comes through strength. And you are that strength. You are the vanguard here on the edge of the Pacific, standing watch every day, guarding over the American people. And on behalf of your Commander-in-Chief and on behalf of all the people of this country, just know that you have our thanks.
All the active-duty servicemen and women who are here, thank you. Thank you for your service. To our veterans who are gathered here, thank you for your service to our nation. And to each and every one of you, on behalf of my wife Karen, and on behalf of the First Family, on behalf of all the American people, we will continue to pray God’s blessing and protection as you continue to serve this, the greatest nation on Earth.
Thank you very much. God bless you. And happy Veterans Day everyone. (Applause.)