November 11, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs and Armed Services Committees, released the following statement in observance of Veterans Day:
“In 1918, members of the Allied Forces and Central Powers laid down their arms to mark the end of the Great War (World War I). While victory came at a tremendous cost, it was a historic triumph of freedom over the forces of tyranny. Originally known as Armistice Day, November 11 became the date each year for us as a country to remember and honor the over 9 million lives, and 116,000 American lives, that were lost in that terrible conflict. Following World War II, our annual remembrance was expanded to honor all who served and became known as Veterans Day. Those who returned home, those who are still missing, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice—our veterans and their families represent the very best of what this county has to offer and I am deeply thankful for their selfless service.
“In Maine, over 10% of our citizens have served in the armed forces. This makes Maine one of the highest-ranking states in terms of veterans per capita, a fact that should instill tremendous pride and a sense of responsibility in every one of us. As we recognize our veterans today, together, we must ensure that their service continues to be honored into the future. Joining the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee this Congress has allowed me to better ensure the voices of Maine veterans are heard and that our veterans receive the proper support that they deserve.
“After observing American troops defend Baltimore Harbor from the British Navy during the War of 1812, Francis Scott Key put pen to paper and created our national anthem. It is telling that he chose to write the last lines of the first stanza in the form of a question:
“O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
“He did so, I believe, to illustrate that the United States can only be the land of the free if it is also the home of the brave. Without brave men and women committed to protecting our country, we could not enjoy the many freedoms we hold dear. Today, we commit ourselves to celebrating these men and women and honoring their service to our country.
“It is my privilege to honor the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Guardians, and Sentinels who served our nation. Let us join hands in the common purpose of serving these veterans as they have served us — they and their families represent the best of America.”