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Myers Reports on Military to Oldest Friends

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

MISSION, Kan., Sept. 25, 2005 – Getting a standing ovation from the people who know you best is not a bad way to attend your 45th high school reunion.

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers Speaks with bandsmen at Shawnee Mission North High School, in Kansas, Sept. 24. The chairman graduated from the school in 1960. Photo by Jim Garamone

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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers received this and the greetings of friends -- some of whom he has known since kindergarten -- here Sept. 24 as he attended the reunion of the Shawnee Mission North High School Class of 1965.

The chairman used the opportunity to report to his friends on the state of the military and progress in the war on terror. "If we could choose any servicemember in Iraq and beam them here and ask them, 'What do you think?' the typical answer would be this: 'We understand the mission here, and we think it is really important. The Iraqi people deserve our support, and we can get it done. If we just get a little support from back home, we can get this done.' That's the message they'd send."

He said that servicemembers understand the threat facing America and its allies. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, hurt the United States deeply, Myers said. In addition to the more than 3,000 people killed in the attacks, businesses lost customers, people were afraid to travel, and many lost confidence in America's ability to challenge these terrorists.

"Terrorists want to create fear in your mind," Myers said. "They want you to act irrationally and illogically, and they can have a terrible impact on our country and our way of life."

Myers told his friends that everyone can do something to strengthen America. He pointed to the teachers at the high school and said, "They are some of the most important people we have in this country. You will never know what difference you will make in people's lives."

"We all do our parts," he said. "We all have to serve. We're all in this together."

Myers told his classmates that he hopes the country stays the course. "I hope that we can keep our resolve, because if we don't, the life that our children and grandchildren are going to have will be much different than what we grew up in, which admittedly was a little idyllic here in Shawnee Mission."

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Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

Click photo for screen-resolution imageChairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers speaks to his classmates from the Shawnee Mission High School Class of 1960 in Kansas. Photo by Jim Garamone  
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