Kelly Ayotte

Speech at Woodbury School's Veterans Day Program - Nov. 3, 2023

Kelly Ayotte
November 03, 2023— Salem, New Hampshire
Print friendly

Well, Principal, I really appreciate being here and I love the new gym. So congratulations to everyone from Salem, Superintendent Palmer, all your hard work. This is a beautiful facility. And it's amazing that you have your your family here and your grandfather. Thank you for what you've done for us. And as I look around this room, I really appreciate everyone who's here, Senator Hasson Senator Morse. Our Adjutant General, General Mikalaides, this is a wonderful ceremony. And it's always so special to be here at Woodbury school.

But most of all, I just want to thank our veterans. Seeing you here just makes my heart full. Our veterans know better than anyone that freedom is not free. And they have sacrificed so much for us to be here today, for our way of life, for the things that we cherish for our Constitution for the values that we have, our freedom. So to all the kids that are here, the veterans that are here today, they're incredible people. So we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for what you have done for us. For showing us what it means to be an American.

I also want to thank the family members who are here of our veterans, because I think our veterans would agree you don't do it alone. The wives, the girlfriends, the children that have supported you along the way. And as the principal very mentioned, my husband served and we got married right before September 11. And when we got back from our honeymoon, he deployed to the Middle East. So I know what that feeling is like when you don't know what's going to happen. And the feeling also most importantly of when he came home, how happy we were as a family. And as Principal Barry mentioned, we now have a daughter who is following actually in my husband's footprints. I will say we love Annapolis, but she's actually at the United States Air Force Academy. And you know, certainly the Naval Academy is phenomenal too. But she's following in her father's footsteps and hopes to be a fighter pilot as well. And I know General Mikalaide's son is also following in his footsteps and he's now in training, and he's going to be joining the Army National Guard so thank you to your son as well.

In fact, if you think about our military, I always like to mention this statistic because it's a really important one. Less than 1% of our population, less than 1% defends the rest of us, the 99%. So they're very special people that they step up, to make sure that the rest of us can be safe. And they don't do it for money. They don't do it for fame. They do it because they love our country. And they do it to serve, they do it also because they care about each other. There's nothing like the camaraderie and the brothership and the sistership of being in the military. I've already heard it from my daughter and of course I've heard it from my husband as well. They care about us. That's why they serve.

So let's take a moment today, not just to thank them, but let's remember that every day is Veterans Day, when we see our veterans and to say thank you when we see a veteran walking down the street, when we see someone wearing a World War 2 hat, or Korea hat, or Vietnam, say thank you for what you have done for our country.

And as we stand here today, there are our men and women in uniform serving around the world in very dangerous places. And Senator Hasson talked about what's happening around the world right now. So let's not forget those who are away serving right now. And let's make sure that if we have the chance around the holidays that we write a letter that can go to our military and get to them overseas so that they know we care about them, and that we pray that they all come home safely.

Every generation of veterans has sacrificed so much for us. They have given their lives for freedom. And we honor them on Memorial Day, and some have never returned. I want to thank the Salem Junior ROTC for doing such a beautiful job this morning. They are at this ceremony every year and it's a very important solemn ceremony to remember and honor our POW MIAs.

I also want to take a moment to thank and recognize Chief Master Sergeant Tom Puzo, who has done an amazing job. Chief, so Chief Puzo has mentored so many young people. He himself served in the Air Force for 30 years. As I understand it, he has led and taught the Salem Junior ROTC for over 22 years. So thank you for all the service that you have given our country and the mentorship you have given to the young people of Salem.

And to the Woodbury students who are here today. I hope you consider serving our nation, when you're older. There are wonderful opportunities to go to college, to have your college paid for, to serve our country in any of the branches of our military. You can attend one of our excellent military academies. You can get an ROTC scholarship, you can go-general Mekalaides would be happy to talk to you about our National Guard and the important jobs that they have for our state and for our country. But even if you don't serve in our military, there are so many opportunities to serve and to give back in your community. You're going to hear from Joe Byron next who's going to talk about the honor guard, you could volunteer for a veterans organization. You can help show our veterans how much you care about them by serving your community and serving others.

And I think this ceremony at Woodbury is the very best veteran ceremony in the state. Because the students here understand the importance of Veterans Day. By your actions you show how much you love our veterans. We've already heard from Mia and Lily, their amazing essays. I know we're going to hear from Declan. And

I also have to say thank you to the lady who organizes this every year and does an amazing job, Cindy Woodbury, thank you. Now, you know Cindy comes from a military family but that's a lady who loves veterans. So thank you, Cindy.

We can honor our veterans every single day by following their example. By coming together as a nation, remembering that we are all part of a cause greater than ourselves. We are Americans, home of the free because of the brave. Today we honor those with true courage. I want to end again by thanking every veteran who is here without you we would not be the great nation that we are. So thank you. May God bless our veterans and may God bless the greatest nation on Earth.

Kelly Ayotte for New Hampshire. “Kelly Ayotte Speaking at Woodbury School's Veterans Day Program — Salem.” YouTube video, 9:32. Nov 3, 2023.