Veterans Day Quotes

The Honor Guard marches in a Veterans Day parade.
The United States Honor Guard marches in the Veterans Day Parade in New York, Nov. 11, 2019. The Honor Guard performed in the parade to honor veterans and to inspire, recruit and retain future Airmen. (U.S. Air Force/Airman 1st Class Noah Sudolcan)

Each year, the nation pauses on Nov. 11 to remember our veterans for their service and sacrifice, a moving tribute that can be recognized through Veterans Day quotes and quotes honoring veterans.

First designated as Armistice Day in 1919 and made an official holiday in 1938 to mark the end of World War I, the day shifted to be known as Veterans Day in 1954.

President Dwight Eisenhower made the first Veterans Day presidential proclamation that year. The holiday was relocated to Oct. 25 starting in 1971, but moved back to the original date by President Gerald Ford. In 1978, Americans again celebrated Veterans Day on the 11th day of the 11th month, honoring both veterans of all conflicts and the armistice agreement that ended World War I.

Related: Veterans Day Free Meals and Food Discounts

Today Americans across the country mark Veterans Day with parades and ceremonies, while many businesses give veterans discounted or free services as a sign of their gratitude. Use these Veterans Day quotes and quotes about veterans to inspire your celebrations as you honor American military service.

Veterans Day Quotes

"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations." -- Woodrow Wilson

"Arm yourselves, and be ye men of valor, and be in readiness for the conflict; for it is better for us to perish in battle than to look upon the outrage of our nation and our altar." -- Winston Churchill

"Though it is little that one woman can do, still I crave the privilege of doing it." -- Clara Barton, Red Cross founder

"The nation owes a great debt to its veterans, whose service to the nation spans every decade, every year, every day of our country's existence. Through untold courage and sacrifice, America's veterans have secured the liberty which the founding fathers sought to establish here in the new world. Whenever and wherever the nation has called -- in times of darkness and danger as well as in times of peace and prosperity -- America's veterans have been there. Veterans have proudly carried the torch of liberty for all to see." -- Colin Powell

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

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; ... who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly." -- Theodore Roosevelt

"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." -- Abraham Lincoln

"Wherever the enemy goes, let our troops go also." -- Ulysses S. Grant

"In order to ensure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose." -- Dwight D. Eisenhower

"The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." -- Abraham Lincoln

"We know why these men fought to keep our freedom -- and why the wars that save a people's liberties are wars worth fighting and worth winning -- and at any cost." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Without heroes, we are all plain people, and don't know how far we can go." -- author Bernard Malamud

"The first requisite of a good citizen in this republic of ours is that he shall be able and willing to pull his own weight." -- Theodore Roosevelt

"We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail." -- George W. Bush

"Although all our people became engaged in this great conflict, some in furnishing money, some in producing food and clothing, some in making munitions, some in administering our government, the place of honor will always be accorded to the men and the women who wore the uniform of our country -- the living and the dead." -- Calvin Coolidge

"[Veterans], by their lives, by the record of their deeds, teach us in more practical fashion than it can be taught by any preaching, for they teach us by practice, that in the ultimate analysis, the greatness of a nation is to be measured not by the output of its industrial products, not by its material prosperity, not by the products of the farm, factory, business house, but by the products of its citizenship, by the men and women that that nation produces." -- Theodore Roosevelt

"In the end, the only way to maintain the peace is to be prepared in the final extreme to fight for our country -- and to mean it." -- John F. Kennedy

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

Want to Know More About the Military?

Be sure to get the latest news about the U.S. military, as well as critical info about how to join and all the benefits of service. Subscribe to and receive customized updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Story Continues