That was the main theme Tuesday during the annual Veterans Day program, which took place at the Clay County Courthouse.
When he approached the podium to speak, V.F.W. Post 1127 Commander Les Walden didn't mince words.
Tuesday's event began with a rousing performance by the Jackson Township Community Band.
Following five marches, American Legion Post 2 Commander Nick White welcomed those in attendance. The presentation of colors -- performed by American Legion Post 2 and V.F.W. Post 1127 took place.
Meridian Elementary School Student Council Vice President Alexa Tillman then asked everyone to join students in the saying of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Following a prayer given by American Legion Post 2 Chaplain James Young, keynote speaker, Capt. Laura Pratt, Commander of the 138th Quartermaster Support Company, addressed the crowd.
Pratt shared her point of view of what serving in the armed forces means, saying it was an "absolute love affair with our country."
Pratt also thanked all veterans, past and present, for their service and dedication.
She also explained to the crowd the 138th is scheduled for deployment soon.
"They truly have the heart of soldiers," she said.
Pratt said the unit would leave for training in a few days and have are scheduled to be deployed for logistic support overseas on Jan. 2, 2009.
"We're doing great," she said.
Both Walden and White then addressed the crowd following Pratt before V.F.W. Post 1127 Chaplain Walter Ter Meer gave the benediction.
"I think this is the biggest crowd we've had at a Veterans Day program," Walden said.