Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center - Speech
Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center
May 9, 2002
I’m very pleased that my old comrade, General Bevers, invited me to join you at this very special event.
I am honored to represent Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service at the opening of the Eastern Kentucky Veterans Center.
I have been a veterans’ advocate for most of my professional life.
It truly lifts my heart to see this wonderful facility.
This Administration understands and deeply appreciates the patriotism, the dedication, and the skills and experiences veterans bring to their communities.
We confront a world profoundly changed by events of September 11, a day of infamy for this generation of Americans…and for all freedom loving people of the world.
Americans are looking at the men and women of our Armed Forces with a renewed sense of respect and pride.
This center represents the commitment this nation owes to the veterans who, in years past, have served with honor, dedication, and pride in defending the principles of freedom and human dignity wherever they have been threatened.
They have stood freedom’s watch in the far corners of the world. They have suffered so that we might be safe.
Now, they will be afforded a continuum of care and support services strategically located in this facility.
Just as America is building coalitions to fight international terrorism around the world, we must build coalitions here at home with state, local, and community-based organizations so that important programs and services can get to the veterans we intend to help.
That is what I see happening within the walls of this fine facility.
I am reminded of the closing lines of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s great poem, “Ulysses.”
Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
Ulysses was written soon after the death of Tennyson’s friend Arthur Hallam.
It expresses Tennyson’s feeling about the need of going forward and braving the struggle of life.
No group better understands this valiant struggle than America’s veterans.
With your prayers and your active involvement, I know we will succeed in bringing them the comfort and security they so richly deserve.
Thank you. God bless you all and God bless America.