Rumsfeld Emphasizes Servicemembers' Legacy of Liberty
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, April 26, 2005 Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said U.S. servicemembers today are fighting for the same ideals and rights their grandfathers did during World War II.
Rumsfeld noted this week marks the 60th anniversary of some of the fiercest fighting of World War II. He said that as the World War II generation fought -- they transformed much of the world. He said they turned menacing dictatorships into peaceful democracies and turned long-standing enemies into friends.
"Today, another generation of Americans and their coalition allies have come to freedom's defense," he said during a Pentagon news conference. Today's servicemembers are engaged against terrorist cells around the world, and they are helping millions of people in Afghanistan and Iraq "to transform their countries from terrorist states into peaceful democracies."
Extremists are trying to turn back the clock, and they will not be successful. "Iraqis and Afghans are increasingly standing up to those who seek to return their countries to dark intolerance," Rumsfeld said.
The secretary spoke about his recent trip to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. "Everywhere we went, I came across outstanding men and women wearing our country's uniform, volunteers all, who with courage and confidence are risking their lives to confront the extremists before they attack our country and our people again," he said.
"The debt we owe our military and civilian personnel and their families is immeasurable. They should find comfort in the knowledge that they're preserving a great legacy of freedom and safeguarding it for generations to come, and we thank them for their service."