By Mayor Douglas French
Good morning, thank you post commander and members of Rye Post 128. It’s once again an honor to be with you, and welcome to all of you on this Veterans Day here in Rye.
The one question we all face is—how do we best express our gratitude to those that are responsible for everything we have, from our freedoms to our way of life?
George Washington got it right when he said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”
So as a community, what can we do? There are a number of ways we can appreciate and acknowledge our veterans.
First, we can say thank you. So, to our veterans up here with me this morning, those in the audience and those across Rye, whether you have served, are serving and to those that are no longer with us, let me say thank you for your service on behalf of Rye and on behalf of the officials up here with me this morning from the state, county and City Council.
Second, we can all give to organizations that support veterans such as the USO and the Wounded Warrior Organization and other local organizations.
Third, like other communities, we can bring back the parade. And so we have started discussions about a private/public partnership in bringing back the Memorial Day parade that Rye used to have starting in May of 2014.
Finally, as a community, we are at our best when we are all connected. We need to know our veterans better. The veterans in Rye are the pillars of our community. Each one of you represents a sense of patriotism and a sense of duty that is admired and respected by us all. You continue to change the lives of those around you with your presence and ongoing commitment to serving others here in Rye. You are the role models that set the bar here and it’s working.
I had the pleasure of sitting down with John Carolin the other day to understand what his service was like and to fully understand his story. He, of course, downplayed it, but I Googled it only to find out how important and strategic his story was. John was part of Operation Torch, in which American commanders agreed to conduct landings in North Africa with the goal of preparing for a future attack on southern Europe. The operation called for several landings, including Casablanca. John landed in Oran. The result was the French joined the American and British allies and built up enough strength to move east and take on the Axis forces. There is history there, and there are great stories in Rye that we can learn and share.
So on this 11th day of the 11th month, and after 237 years of the founding of our nation’s armed services and 22 million veterans—thank you, God bless our veterans and God bless America.