Military retirement quotes can provide a glimpse into the lives and experiences of those who served our country. A veteran’s perspective on retirement in the military is important – not only in their personal decisions but in understanding how they will adjust to civilian life.
It is difficult to predict when we will retire from the military, and for some, it may come unexpectedly. This can be disconcerting when you are not prepared for it.
Military members looking for a way to summarize their military service or to inspire those who are still serving might turn to the Military Retirement Quotes below. Whether they say something about duty, honor, and country, sacrifice, service, or patriotism, these quotes offer words of wisdom and guidance to those who have served and those who plan to serve.
Top 45 Military Retirement Quotes That Will inspire You
1. “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell
2. “Retirement is not the end of the road. It is the beginning of the open highway.” – Unknown
3. “Retirement is not a life without purpose; it is the ongoing purpose that provides meaningfulness.” – Robert Rivers
4. “To be able to fill leisure intelligently is the last product of civilization , and at present very few people have reached this level.” – Bertrand Russell
5. “Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.” – Susan Cain
6. “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
7. “I think there is one higher office than the president and I would call that patriot.” – Gary Hart
8. “The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave.” – Patrick Henry
9. “Sooner or later I’m going to die, but I’m not going to retire.” – Margaret Mead
10. “They’re on our right, they’re on our left, they’re in front of us, they’re behind us; they can’t get away from us this time.” – General Chesty Puller
11. “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!” – Lieutenant Howell Maurice Forgy
12. “Now, when you boys get home, you’re gonna see a lot of war protestors. But don’t be bitter. Go up to one, shake his hand, and smile. Then wink at his girlfriend, because she knows she’s dating a pussy.” – Tommy Franks
13. “And like the old Soldier in that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old Soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the sight to see that duty.” – Douglas MacArthur
14. “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!” – Maya Angelou
15. “What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and it forever.” – Albert Pike
16. “… A leader…is the quality of character, of soul. It is a matter of integrity and authenticity, of commitment both to a mission and to caring for everyone on the team, regardless of rank.” – Rev. Sam Lloyd III
17. “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.” – E. Davis
18. “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” – Ronald Reagan
19. “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
20. “The veterans of our military services have put their lives on the line to protect the freedoms that we enjoy. They have dedicated their lives to their country and deserve to be recognized for their commitment.” – Judd Gregg
21. “Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of readiness to die.” – G.K. Chesterton
22. “Never was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill
Military Retirement Poems
Standing long, long days
Scanning eye, turning head
Trust your gut feeling
The ones who have told you lies
You served so well for years,
always with the goal of coming home again.
then you retired and said bye
only to find more of your time spent with your wife.
He’s reached the end of his time, but his service will never be done.
Celebrating his life once more, because now it is over.
23. “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
24. “Land of the free because of the brave.” – Bumper sticker
25. “Age is only a number, a cipher for the records. A man can’t retire from his experience. He must use it.” – Bernard Baruch
27. “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.” – Maya Angelou
28. “Thank God every day when you get up that you have something to do that day which must be done whether you like it or not. Being forced to work and forced to do your best will breed in you temperance and self-control, diligence and strength of will, cheerfulness and content, and a hundred virtues which the idle will never know.” – Basil Carpenter
29. “Retirement has been a discovery of beauty for you. I never had the time before to notice the beauty of your grandkids, your wife, and the tree outside your very own front door. And, the beauty of time itself.” – Hartman Jule
30. “What you leave behind is not what is engraved on stone monuments but what is woven into the hearts of others.” – Pericles
31. “Retirement at sixty-five is ridiculous. When I was sixty-five I still had pimples.” – George Burns
32. “Better to fight for something than live for nothing.” – George S. Patton
33. “This flag may fade but these colors don’t run.” – Charles M. Province
34. “Retirement is the ugliest word in the language.” – Ernest Hemingway
Famous Military Retirement Speeches
Many military members retire from the armed forces with a memorable speech that is given before they leave. These speeches, most often delivered by senior officers, are usually about their accomplishments and what they will miss about their time in the service. They sometimes also mention something specific to why they are retiring or where they plan to go after departing from the military.
35. “I think that retirement is the first step towards the grave.” – Hugh Hefner
36. “The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.” – James Mattis
37. “Sometimes it’s hard to tell if retirement is a reward for a lifetime of hard work or a punishment.” – Terri Guillemets
38. “The only time you have too much fuel is when you’re on fire.” – Unknown
39. “The number of medals on an officer’s breast varies in inverse proportion to the square of the distance of his duties from the front line.” – Charles Edward Montague
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41. To live free is a privilege. To die free is a responsibility.” – Brig. Gen. James Sehorn
42. “I always likened retirement to falling off a cliff, and then you have to kind of brush yourself off.” – Steve Young
43. “I never had the sense that there was an end: that there was a retirement or that there was a jackpot.” – Leonard Cohen
44. “Something pretty… that’s just the surface. People worry so much about aging, but you look younger if you don’t worry about it.” – Jeanne Moreau
45. “I have long been of the opinion that if work were such a splendid thing the rich would have kept more of it for themselves.” – Bruce Grocott
Finally, military retirement quotes can be very motivating and inspiring. military retirement quotes provide guidance and advice for those about to enter the military, and for those who have served and are now retiring. There is a wide range of advice that covers all aspects of life, not just retirement.