History’s greatest military quotes are born out of rich experience and the courage to speak the truth. Some of the most famous military quotes come from our American troops and leaders while others were spoken thousands of years ago by conquering emperors and renowned philosophers. Of these 10 famous military quotes throughout history, which do you know already and which is your favorite?
- “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” – Capt. Nathan Hale
This famous military quote was said by Nathan Hale, an American spy during the Revolutionary War. While on a mission in New York, he was captured by the British and hanged. His last words have been echoed repeatedly since that time.
- “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” – Winston Churchill
Churchill first uttered this famous line after visiting the operations room of the No. 11 Group RAF. Four days later, he incorporated these words into a famous wartime speech on Aug. 20, 1940. This quote was used on several WWII posters.
- “I am not afraid of an army of lions led by sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion.” – Alexander the Great
This great emperor lived over 2,000 years ago and though many people argue that this quote might have been misattributed, the quote still gives powerful meaning to strong leadership today.
- “Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even until death.” – Sun Tzu
This quote comes from the book The Art of War written by Sun Tzu in the 5th century BC. It gives strong insight into the bond between soldiers and their leaders.
- “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” – Abraham Lincoln
This quote is attributed to Abraham Lincoln and has been recounted in many different forms. The first printing of this quote was found in an Iowa newspaper in 1931.
- “Veni, vidi, vici.” – Julius Caesar
These famous words, spoken in Latin, mean “I came, I saw, I conquered.” They were spoken by none other than Julius Caesar when he related his victory over King Pharnace of the Bosphorus to the Senate.
- “I have not yet begun to fight.” – Captain John Paul Jones
In the Battle of Flamborough Head in 1779, Captain Richard Pearson of the Royal Navy asked Captain John Paul Jones if he was ready to surrender the USS Ronhomme Richard, the ship he commanded. Capt. Jones boldly replied, “I have not yet begun to fight.”
- “Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. This is not the way of life at all in any true sense. Under the clouds of war, it is humanity hanging on a cross of iron.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
This quote comes from President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s famous “Chance for Peace” speech that he gave in 1953, a short time after the death of Joseph Stalin.
- “Whoever said the pen is mightier than the sword obviously never encountered automatic weapons.” – Douglas MacArthur
You’ve probably heard the cliched expression “the pen is mightier than the sword” several times over. Well, General Douglas MacArthur shed some truth on war by giving us this witty response to the expression.
- “The soldier is the Army. No army is better than its soldiers. The soldier is also a citizen. In fact, the highest obligation and privilege of citizenship is that of bearing arms for one’s country.” – George S. Patton Jr.
The last of our 10 famous military quotes comes from General George S. Patton Jr. who knew the strong link between citizenship and military service.
Living by Truth and Giving Back to Others
This is only a small sampling of all of the great military quotes given throughout history, but it certainly covers some of the greatest and most famous! Do you think any of these quotes should be replaced with others?
At Low VA Rates, we understand the incredible sacrifices that comes with military service. We honor those who have served in the U.S. military and who live by these quotes each day. To learn more about how we give back to our troops, visit our site and other articles on our blog.