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Veterans Day Message from the Secretary of Defense

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8, 2002 – Ever since the first Veterans Day – originally "Armistice Day" – was established in 1919, Americans have paused to salute the service and remember the sacrifice of the men and women who have kept us free.

And rightly so. For throughout a century of conflict and change, the courage and commitment of America's military men and women have never faltered. Through every skirmish and battle, in every war in every era, they have remained dedicated to the strength and survival of our nation.

Today, we are engaged in a war unlike any other America has fought. But while the enemy may be different, the reasons to fight are the same: to protect the America people, to preserve their freedom, and to ensure a peaceful future for our ourselves and our children.

We do not commit U.S forces lightly. This is our promise -- and our responsibility -- to all the veterans of the past, the present, and the future.

Before the use of force, we ask: Is this military action truly necessary? Are the goals clear and achievable? Do we have a good reason to put lives at risk?

If the answers to those questions are "yes," we will act quickly and decisively, using all the force necessary to prevail. Most important, we will be brutally honest, with ourselves, our allies and with the American people about what must be done, and what lies ahead.

So, on this Veterans Day -- as we honor the dead, remember the missing, celebrate the living, and recognize all who today fight to defend our country and our freedom -- let us also pray for a time when all will live in peace.

Until then, may God bless you and keep you safe, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.

Donald H. Rumsfeld

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