Since 1949, we have been celebrating the branches of our nation’s military on Armed Forces Day it is the one designated day of the year where we put our friendly rivalries and banter aside to recognize and honor the strength of our combined forces.

This day is meant to recognize the service of all those who put on the uniform — past, and present. It’s a day to remember the individuals who serve in our armed forces and thank them for giving us the freedom we enjoy today.

Those of us who have fought to defend that freedom, know all too well the struggles and sacrifice military service entails and what a responsibility it is. But from defending our country in times of peril to helping on the home front, to be a steadfast protector of our great nation is indeed the highest honor.

Today, we have the opportunity to express our gratitude to the selfless men and women who serve our nation as courageous, steadfast protectors. Every American, no matter where they live, or what they do, reaps the benefit of their service.

From the birth of our nation, it has been clear that our nation’s survival falls upon the shoulders of patriots willing to put everything on the line for a life free of tyranny. And from the beginning, those patriots … the defenders of our great nation … recognized that only at great cost would the concept of liberty and justice become a reality, and only with great sacrifice would freedom prevail.

Through the years, the powerful force of those who wear the uniform of the United States military have defined what it means to be courageous, steadfast protectors; it is America’s proud soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen who have tenaciously defended and preserved our way of life.

Even right now as I speak, our service members are on foreign soil fighting against a ruthless enemy. Every day, we pray for their safe return and stand ready to support their families while they are away.

Each page of America’s history tells the story of the sacrifices the men and women of our armed forces have made, and each colorful page illustrates the legacy of their accomplishments.

From the battlefields of the Argonne Forest and Belleau Wood during WWI to the beaches of Normandy and the jungles of the Pacific during WWII, throughout the Cold War, Korea and Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan … America’s armed forces have liberated countries and millions of people from the dark grip of aggression and repression.

Today, we recognize our courageous, steadfast protectors and thank them for giving us the freedom to be here today, for their selfless service, courage, indomitable spirit and their unending dedication to our nation …

We thank them for all that they do … we are privileged to have such heroes among us