America's Most Beloved Veterans

World War II veteran Audie Murphy
World War II veteran Audie Murphy.

One of our nation's founding fathers, Patrick Henry, put it this way: "The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave."

These are the signature characteristics of American veterans. Their strength, vigilance and courage occupy a revered place in the collective conscience of a public made free by the willingness of some to protect all others.

Veterans Day is a time to honor them, living and dead, from the patriots who fought for independence in the late 18th century to the men and women who saved the lives of their fallen comrades on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. Some came home to become movie stars, professional athletes, generals and presidents. Others, like the four chaplains of different faiths who went down with a sinking troop ship after passing out life jackets to everyone else they could, would not live to see their legacies honored.

In May 2014, The American Legion Magazine asked its readers, website visitors and social media followers to select from a list of 100 beloved U.S. veterans. More than 70,000 votes were cast. The choices span our nation's lifetime.

The top 25 veterans are listed below. For profiles of each veteran written by authors, experts, historians and, in a few cases, those who knew them best, visit the American Legion website.

1. Audie Murphy

 

Audie Murphy

2. George Washington

 

George Washington

3. Theodore Roosevelt

 

Teddy Roosevelt

4. Alvin York

 

Alvin York

5. George Patton

 

George Patton

6. Dwight Eisenhower

 

Dwight Eisenhower

7. Norman Schwarzkopf

 

Norman Schwarzkopf

8. Robert E. Lee

 

Robert E. Lee

9. Jimmy Doolittle

 

Jimmy Doolittle

10. Ulysses Grant

 

Ulysses Grant

11. Jimmy Stewart

 

Jimmy Stewart

12. Doris "Dorie" Miller

 

Doris "Dorie" Miller

13. Michael Murphy

 

Michael Murphy

14. Eddie Rickenbacker

 

Eddie Rickenbacker

15. Chris Kyle

 

Chris Kyle

16. The Four Chaplains

 

the Four Chaplains

17. Pat Tillman

 

Pat Tillman

18. Douglas MacArthur

 

Douglas MacArthur

19. John F. Kennedy

 

John F. Kennedy

20. Billy Mitchell

 

Billy Mitchell

21. John Paul Jones

 

John Paul Jones

22. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson

 

Stonewall Jackson

23. Bruce Crandall

 

Bruce Crandall

24. Omar Bradley

 

Omar Bradley

 

25. Lewis "Chesty" Puller

Lewis "Chesty" Puller

Show Full Article