Senator John ThuneNovember is upon us and with it comes our nation's unified appreciation for the men and women who have served in the Armed Forces. Veterans Day is a time for all of us to recognize our veterans' role in making America the greatest country on earth. Our nation has done remarkable things throughout its short history to make the world a better place abroad and at home. Our servicemen and women have protected our citizens from foreign and domestic threats, and fought in the name of liberty all over the world.
Veterans and active members of the military understand the concept of American exceptionalism better than anyone. These men and women have stood bravely on the field of battle. They have crouched down in bunkers with gunfire overhead. They have crammed into quarters deep below the sea. They have soared through dangerous skies. They have raised the star spangled banner in great triumph. And, they have watched their brothers and sisters make the ultimate sacrifice. Indeed, our veterans truly embody the spirit of American exceptionalism.
My dad, Harold Thune, was a fighter pilot during World War II. He flew over 50 combat missions and went on to receive the Distinguished Flying Cross. At the conclusion of the squadron's service together, 12 of my dad's fellow servicemen had given their lives. My father's story of service and heroism is among countless stories throughout our nation's history. From coast to coast there are innumerable veterans ready to tell the living history of their defense of freedom. Today, there are men and women around the globe fighting for that same freedom. Just as our veterans fought for a generation they would never meet, the men and women serving in today's Armed Forces fight to keep liberty alive for future generations.
This Veterans Day we should all take a moment to thank the men and women who have served on behalf of South Dakota and our great nation. They, along with active members of the military, are a large part of what makes us an exceptional country, and they have dedicated their very lives in order to protect it.