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Thanksgiving Day Message from the President

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 1998 – Throughout our great nation on this Thanksgiving, Americans will gather around the dinner table with family and friends to share good food, warm laughter, and the happy memories of Thanksgivings past. But for many of these families, whose loved ones serve in the Armed Forces, this year's Thanksgiving celebration will not be complete. A familiar voice will not be heard and a chair at the table will remain empty because fathers and mothers, sons and daughters, uncles and aunts, and grandparents, too, are far from home protecting the blessings we celebrate this season.

In Bosnia, soldiers will gather in tents and celebrate as friends and comrades. On ships at sea, sailors will gather in the mess to enjoy the traditional Thanksgiving fare. In the remote desert of Southwest Asia, airmen will gather for a brief respite from monitoring the skies over Iraq. And in Okinawa, Marines will gather to cheer on their favorite football team after their Thanksgiving meal. These scenes will be repeated at military installations far and near, at home in America and across the globe.

So as those of us who are blessed to be with our families this year celebrate and give thanks, we will not forget the homes that have an empty chair at the table. And we will offer a prayer of thanksgiving for you, the brave men and women of our Armed Forces, whose service and sacrifice guarantee the freedoms we hold so dear.

On behalf of your grateful fellow Americans, Hillary and I extend our best wishes to all of you for a joyous and safe Thanksgiving.

Bill Clinton

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