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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

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