As scripted by Randy Snyder for the Veterans Day event at Rumbling Bald Resort November 11, 2016.

Today, is the 97th celebration of the venerable recognition and tribute to all vets, deceased, alive and others still serving. The recognition of the sacrifices made by so many dedicated Americans was first declared as Armistice day after World War I in 1919 on the first anniversary of the end of the war, subsequently congress passed a resolution for national observance in 1928 and declared it as a national holiday in 1938.

The ultimate price of freedom is for one to lose their life during wartime fighting on behalf of our country personifying the greatest sacrifice one can make. The following history of American lives lost is quite astounding when pondering those losses by war since and including World War I:

World War I 116,500 deaths

World War II 405,399 deaths

Korean War 36,516 deaths

Viet Nam War 58,209 deaths

Iraq and Afghanistan Wars 6,850 deaths

The total excluding other minor conflicts of the lives lost is an astounding 623,474!

The actual estimate of living vets, war and peacetime vets that should be lauded today is approximately 32 million or 10% of our population in total and 13% of our adult population over 18. Today we are fortunate as a nation to be served by a total of 580,000, only ¼ of one percent of the adult population and the least amount of active military since World War II. They deserve our thanks whenever and wherever we encounter them as they stand for “freedom not being free” and represent the guardians of that freedom.

We are gathered here today for this celebration in recognition of all vets here and abroad and are indebted to those vets. Unequivocally and realistically our way of life in a country that is the greatest country in a world currently immersed in conflict, chaos and even genocide is only possible with a strong military and people willing to serve. Never have so many of us owed so much to so few who are serving and have served!

GOD BLESS AMERICA, my country and your country to love, and always remembering that “freedom is not free”