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Chairman's Independence Day Message

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, June 30, 1998 – On July 4, 1776, the signers of the Declaration of Independenceboldly proclaimed the birth of a new nation. In the fight for independence, American soldiers, sailors and Marines fought in bloody battles and endured countless hardships to earn the blessings of liberty that became the birthrights of all Americans.

Throughout our nation's history, America's armed forces have been called upon to protect what the early patriots fought so hard to win. Each time, our men and women in uniform performed superbly, meeting the challenge with courage, dedication, and unmatched professional skill.

Today, you -- America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen -- continue to safeguard America and our founding ideals. Your mission often entails sacrifice, hardship and lengthy separation from family and friends. Yet you serve your fellow citizens with the same pride and dedication, the same Spirit of '76, as those who fought 222 years ago to establish America.

On this Independence Day, as Americans commemorate our nation's birthday, they also honor you and those who wore the uniform before you. Your selfless service has done so much to make America great. On behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thank you for making this a day to celebrate.

Best wishes for a safe and enjoyable holiday.Gen. Henry H. Shelton, USA
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

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