“It’s one thing to say you believe in the United States and what it stands for,” said retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Andrew Brandi. “It’s another thing altogether to put on a uniform, pick up a rifle and be willing to die for what you believe.”
Brandi was the keynote speaker at Lake Elsinore’s Veterans’ Day Observance ceremony held Nov. 11 at the Veterans Memorial in front of Storm Stadium.
“Today and every day we must take the opportunity to keep alive the memories, sacrifices and accomplishments of our nation’s veterans . . . and we must embrace every occasion to educate future generations, the public and elected officials on the accomplishments, importance and needs of our nation’s veterans,” Lake Elsinore Mayor Brian Tisdale, a former Marine Sergeant and 22-year veteran, said as he welcomed the crowd to the ceremony. “We could never repay our debt of gratitude to the more than 650,000 men and women who have died in battle or the 1.4 million who were wounded. We can, however, recognize and thank the veterans still living today.”
The U.S. Armed Forces Medley was performed by the Elsinore Middle School Band as veterans stood for their branch’s anthem.
“You survived war for a reason,” said Brandi addressing the veterans. “Now it’s up to each of us to find our calling, our purpose. We have an obligation to help our own, but what you do is up to you. What does this country owe you? Everything. What can you expect from this country? Nothing. What can you do? Anything.”
He then urged all to live by the code of honor and find the inner strength to live through problems. Brandi is now an advocate for veterans and their families, providing coping skills and interventions.