WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2015 —
For nearly a century, Veterans Day has marked a sacred moment to remember those who have stepped forward to defend our nation and protect all that we hold dear, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said today in a special message to the force.
"As I join the President at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, my thoughts will be with the veterans among us who 70 years ago fought their way up Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima, or crossed the Rhine into Germany," Carter said. "I will think about the veterans who today can tell their grandchildren of the freezing temperatures at the Chosin Reservoir 65 years ago, or the scorching heat of the Mekong Delta 50 years ago."
The secretary said he will remember and honor the obligations all Americans have to the veterans of the Gulf War, "and to those who’ve performed with excellence in the past 14 years in Afghanistan and Iraq." He said he will also keep in mind the 450,000 men and women currently deployed "in every time zone and in every domain."
Carter said his first commitment is to the people who serve -- "because our men and women in uniform, and their families, are what make our nation’s military the finest fighting force the world has ever known."
He called for the celebration of each generation of veterans by telling their stories, helping those in need, and honoring their example.
"To our veterans – thank you," the secretary said. "Thank you for everything you’ve done for our country and for the many ways you continue to serve your communities and your nation. You are the living embodiment of the tradition and the promise that makes our nation great today and inspires us for the future."