Remarks by U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain at the Chester County Bar Association's Annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Historic Chester County Courthouse
PHILADELPHIA, PA – On Wednesday, November 11, 2020, U.S. Attorney McSwain delivered the Veterans’ Address at the Chester County Bar Association’s Annual Veterans Day Ceremony. U.S. Attorney McSwain, a Chester County native and a member of the Chester County Bar Association, served in the U.S. Marine Corps infantry from 1993 to 1997. He was introduced by his friend, Brian Nagle, who is a former President of the Chester County Bar Foundation.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Good morning, and thank you, Brian, for that kind introduction. I also want to thank Matt Holliday, Executive Director of the Chester County Bar Association, for inviting me to speak here today. I am delighted to participate in this annual ceremony that honors America’s veterans.
Veterans’ Day is an important marker – it reminds every citizen in this great country of the sacrifice that the men and women of the Armed Forces have made to preserve and protect the American dream. It is our opportunity to honor and thank all Americans who have served our country in uniform. That includes those living and dead, those who served in war and peace, those who serve today and those who served yesterday. In particular, I want to recognize and thank the veterans with us this morning: with this ceremony, we honor your sacrifice, courage, and bravery. We owe our way of life to you. Thank you for your service.
We also must thank you for the example you set for every American citizen. That example is your unity of purpose. When you signed up to serve in the military, you committed yourself to live by the military ethos of self-sacrifice in the name of a greater good. You knew when you committed that you would likely serve under multiple presidents and military leaders, not necessarily knowing who they would be. You did not know where or with whom you would serve. Many of you did not know what forces you would be fighting or the identity of the enemy. Still, none of that mattered: you signed up to serve because you love your country and everything that America stands for.
And that is because no matter who is in charge, the ideals of patriotism, freedom, democracy, and service remain the same. Even with all of the unknowns I just mentioned, the reason you decided to serve is the constant in the equation.
That unity of purpose is what binds the men and women who serve; it is also what unites every American in our expression of gratitude for your service. Your love of country is the example you set for every American. We owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude for your service and for your living example of patriotism.
The timing of Veterans’ Day has historical significance, but it is also culturally significant. We celebrate Veterans’ Day on November 11 because the holiday has its roots in Armistice Day – the official end of World War I. On the 11th day, at the 11th hour, of the 11th month, a bugle call signified the truce among all nations and a recommitment to world peace. But the world did not remain a peaceful place for very long. After World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans’ Day.
I think we can all agree that this has been a tough year. From the global pandemic to the divisions in our country that led to a hard-fought election by all involved, nothing has come easily this year. Sometimes it may seem as if there’s nothing we can all agree upon. But that’s not true. We all agree that our veterans are heroes. Veterans’ Day brings us together as a nation to express our profound gratitude for what our veterans have done and for what our military stands for.
Our military is one of the greatest unifying forces for good in our country today. The outpouring of support for our veterans on this day reminds us of what is important: love of country and love of freedom, which you have bravely protected at every turn.
God Bless you all. And God Bless the United States of America. Thank you.