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2003 Thanksgiving Message to the Troops From the Secretary of Defense

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 26, 2003 – Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday - a reminder not only of the abundance that freedom brings, but that ours was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded on freedom.

Freedom lies at the heart of who we are, and what we believe. And for more than two centuries, our country has been blessed with men and women willing to fight and die to defend the freedom we cherish.

More than two years have passed since the beginning of the global war on terror. You have sacrificed much to protect and defend the security of your fellow citizens at home - and to liberate some 46 million others from a life of brutality and fear.

Thanks to your courage and determination, freedom is taking root today in Afghanistan and Iraq. And terrorism as an instrument of fear and oppression is being confronted and beaten back. And that is an achievement for which we can be truly grateful.

And so, we give thanks for our freedom, and for all of you, who guard and protect it every day. We are thankful also for your families, who sacrifice so that you might serve. We are grateful for our friends and allies who stand with us in the war on terror and for each U.S soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine - and those of our allies - who have given their lives in the cause of freedom.

Thank you for all you do. May God bless and protect you this day and always. And may He continue to bless the United States of America.


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