The following is the speech given by Framingham Selectmen Chair Cheryl Tully Stoll during the Town of Framingham’s Veterans Day ceremony at Cushing Chapel on November 11, 2016.
Of all the speeches I do in a year, this is the one I volunteer to make. I chose this one because of my deep, heartfelt respect and gratitude for and to those who have served this country, as well as their families who have made tremendous sacrifices so that those individuals could serve us.
With the anti-veteran rhetoric that was spewed during this presidential campaign against P.O.W.’s, PTSD victims and Gold Star Families, where do we go from here?
Like America has done so many times in our past, we move forward.
In his brief victory speech, the President-Elect did reach out, and took the time to offer support for our Veterans. We, the American people, need to take him at his word and hold him and his administration to that commitment.
We also need to remind our fellow countrymen and women that the unconscionable rhetoric of the campaign regarding our heroes is NOT acceptable.
We need to make sure that our children realize that any denigrating speech about those who serve or have served our country is NOT acceptable.
And we need to work together to reunite this tragically divided country. Clearly a lot of people feel left behind. Some of those people are veterans themselves, and that is NOT acceptable.
Whether you are happy with the results from Tuesday, or devastated by them; the fact is, that millions of men and women have fought over the history of this nation for us to have the freedom to choose who our leaders are.
On Tuesday, Americans exercised that hard fought-for freedom. That is what the sacrifice has always been about.
It hasn’t been about WHO will be President; it been about preserving our right to FREELY ELECT our President. That WAS done on Tuesday.
And as we move on from here, as ONE nation, we need to respect and support the men and women who sacrifice themselves to protect our way of life.
We need to make sure that the VA fulfills its obligation to provide quality healthcare in a timely and convenient way.
We need to provide mental health services to those who are coming home with issues that their service for us caused. And we need to support their families as well.
And we need to work on veteran homelessness and job training.
But most of all, we have to work together to solve these problems, as ONE AMERICA. Because that’s what the sacrifice has always been all about.