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Perry Praises Uniformed, Civilian Workers

By Master Sgt. Stephen Barrett, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 10, 1996 – Defense Secretary William Perry praised uniformed and civilian workers for their dedication to the nation during DoD's observance of Public Service Recognition Week recently.

"We face two types of changes -- changes that happen to us and changes we make happen," said Perry. "When change happens to us, it often creates problems, but also, it opens opportunities. We've seized the chance to make things happen that will improve our armed forces and our national security."

Public Service Recognition Week honors all federal, state and local government employees. The President's Council on Management Improvement and the Public Employees Roundtable annually sponsors the event, which includes ceremonies at all government agencies and a public service exhibition on the National Mall in Washington.

At the DoD observance, Perry spoke of 10 accomplishments in the past year. These range from quality of life improvements and defense acquisition reform to missile disarmament and partnerships with former Warsaw Pact nations.

In listing those accomplishments, Perry said none would be possible without the armed forces and the DoD civilians supporting them. "You helped turn the hard-to-imagine into reality."

Perry also spoke on the dangers of public service -- noting last year's observance occurred shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing killed over 160 people. Many victims were federal workers.

"Since that time, there have been two fresh tragedies," said Perry. "The loss of [Commerce] Secretary Ron Brown and the public servants and corporate leaders who were with him. They died trying to help people -- [people who] were sick of war -- build an economic foundation for peace."

He also mentioned the loss of Joseph Kruzel, his deputy assistant secretary for European and NATO policy. Kruzel and two other U.S. envoys died in a vehicle accident near Sarajevo, Bosnia, while on a peace agreement.

"These were terrible blows to public servants," said Perry. "But out of these tragedies comes understanding -- understanding of who federal employees are and what they do."

Perry said all Americans love liberty. DoD employees help all Americans guard and defend that liberty. "Your children and your grandchildren will thank you for doing that job well," he said. "But you do not have to wait for their thanks. I am thanking you here and now."

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