All across America, veterans from inside the Sandbox (also known as Iraq) and Afghanistan are flying home to their family and friends, as the gradual draw-down begins of troops serving from the Middle East.
These warriors have fought bravely, with honor and distinction in temperatures that soared to 130 degrees in the shade, and freezing single digits at night.
They have killed, and been killed.
These military men and women have assured freedom for the Iraqi and Afghan people, in a part of the world where "freedom is just another word, with nothing left to lose" to borrow from Janis Joplin.
By engaging Al Qaida in the hellholes left behind by Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, the enemy lost his war with America.
We have triumphed, and will continue our winning ways because of the grit and guts of our heroes. For serving in these two wars, and all wars that came before, our soldiers deserve our gratitude.
I thank-you. We all thank-you and bless you and your families.
Hug a hero today. You'll know him or her by the uniform they wear, or the stories they share. It is important to remember.