Veterans Day Quotes

Patriotic words to honor men and women who've served in the military

Soldier saluting
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Veterans Day (originally known as “Armistice Day”) was first commemorated on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. A resolution to make the day an annual observance was passed by Congress in 1926 and it officially became a national holiday in 1938. World War II began the following year. While America didn't join the Allied forces until after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the conflict that spread across Europe and the Pacific eventually led to the loss of 15,000,000 souls serving in the military, and countless casualties whose lives were forever changed by their experiences of war. Other deadly conflicts, including those in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and the Gulf followed.

On Veterans Day, people across the nation honor the brave men and women who served in our country's military with heartfelt remembrances and thanks. The following inspirational Veteran's Day quotes remind us that the cost of freedom is seldom free.

Freedom and Liberty

"This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave."—Elmer Davis

"But the freedom that they fought for, and the country grand they wrought for, Is their monument to-day, and for aye."—Thomas Dunn English

"Those who give up essential liberties for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”—Benjamin Franklin

“If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”—Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"America's Veterans have served their country with the belief that democracy and freedom are ideals to be upheld around the world."—John Doolittle

Valor and Honor

"In valor there is hope."—Publius Cornelius Tacitus

"Perfect valor is to behave, without witnesses, as one would act were all the world watching."—Francois de la Rochefoucauld

"Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul."
—Michel de Montaigne

"Honor to the Soldier, and Sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country's cause. Honor also to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field, and serves, as he best can, the same cause —honor to him, only less than to him, who braves, for the common good, the storms of heaven and the storms of battle."—Abraham Lincoln

"Better than honor and glory, and History's iron pen,
Was the thought of duty done and the love of his fellow men."
—Richard Watson Gilder


"It doesn’t take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men who goes into battle.”—General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

"How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!"—Maya Angelou

"My heroes are those who risk their lives every day to protect our world and make it a better place—police, firefighters, and members of our armed forces."
—Sidney Sheldon


"The only war is the war you fought in. Every veteran knows that."
—Allan Keller

"Lord, bid war's trumpet cease;
Fold the whole earth in peace."
Oliver Wendell Holmes

"History teaches that war begins when governments believe the price of aggression is cheap."—Ronald Reagan

“The nicest veterans...the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who'd really fought.”
Kurt Vonnegut, "Slaughterhouse-Five"

"Either war is obsolete or men are."—R. Buckminster Fuller

“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
―J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Two Towers"

"The most persistent sound which reverberates through men's history is the beating of war drums."—Arthur Koestler


"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a scarce man, and brave, and hated and scorned. When his cause succeeds, the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."—Mark Twain

"Thank you for the sacrifices you and your families are making. Our Vietnam Veterans have taught us that no matter what our positions may be on policy, as Americans and patriots, we must support all of our soldiers with our thoughts and our prayers."—Zack Wamp

"I think there is one higher office than President and I would call that patriot."—Gary Hart


"Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys. Look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death!"— Sun Tzu

“America without her Soldiers would be like God without His angels.”
―Claudia Pemberton

“The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The Soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.”—General George S. Patton

"As a former veteran, I understand the needs of veterans, and have been clear—we will work together, stand together with the Administration, but we will also question their policies when they shortchange veterans and military retirees."
—Solomon Ortiz

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”― G.K. Chesterton

“Civilians seldom understand that soldiers, once impressed into war, will forever take it for the ordinary state of the world, with all else illusion. The former soldier assumes that when time weakens the dream of civilian life and its supports pull away, he will revert to the one state that will always hold his heart. He dreams of war and remembers it in quiet times when he might otherwise devote himself to different things, and he is ruined for the peace. What he has seen is as powerful and mysterious as death itself, and yet he has not died, and he wonders why.”―Mark Helprin, "A Soldier of the Great War"

“We sleep peaceably in our beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.”—George Orwell

Veterans and Gratitude

"America's veterans deserve the very best health care because they've earned it."—Jim Ramstad

"America's veterans embody the ideals upon which America was founded more than 229 years ago."—Steve Buyer

"We can't equate spending on veterans with spending on defense. Our strength is not just in the size of our defense budget, but in the size of our hearts, in the size of our gratitude for their sacrifice. And that's not just measured in words or gestures."—Jennifer Granholm

“Within the soul of each Vietnam veteran there is probably something that says 'Bad war, good soldier.' Only now are Americans beginning to separate the war from the warrior.”―Max Cleland

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“I have perceived much beauty
In the hoarse oaths that kept our courage straight;
Heard music in the silentness of duty;
Found peace where shell-storms spouted reddest spate.
Nevertheless, except you share
With them in hell the sorrowful dark of hell,
Whose world is but the trembling of a flare,
And heaven but as the highway for a shell,
You shall not hear their mirth:
You shall not come to think them well content
By any jest of mine. These men are worth
Your tears: You are not worth their merriment.”
―Wilfred Owen, "The Collected Poems of Wilfred Owen"

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Khurana, Simran. "Veterans Day Quotes." ThoughtCo, Apr. 13, 2021, Khurana, Simran. (2021, April 13). Veterans Day Quotes. Retrieved from Khurana, Simran. "Veterans Day Quotes." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 7, 2023).