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Independence Day 2002 Message From the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 27, 2002 – When our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776, they mutually pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to each other and to the world. During the course of the seven-year war that followed, nine of the signers died of wounds or hardships, 17 lost everything that they owned, and five were imprisoned or captured. They risked all they had, sacrificing everything for freedom -- they all kept their sacred honor.

Today, our country is at war -- a very different and nontraditional war against a very dangerous and elusive enemy. This enemy threatens the principles and values that freedom-loving people hold dear -- equality, self-governance, religious tolerance, and the rule of law.

President John F. Kennedy in the midst of another struggle once observed: "When there is a visible enemy to fight in open combat … many serve, all applaud, and the tide of patriotism runs high. But when there is a long, slow struggle with no immediate visible foe, your choice will seem hard indeed."

Today, our enemy is not always visible, and as President Bush has said, winning this war will take time. We must have patience and perseverance in this conflict to preserve our freedoms. Remember on this Independence Day to honor our forefathers for their courage, vision and sacrifices -- and let us also honor them by staying focused on winning this war!

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and I join with every American this Fourth of July in remembering how precious our rights and freedoms are. We honor your service, your courage, and your countless sacrifices at sea, in the air, and on distant fields of battle. May God continue to bless this great Nation, the members of our Armed Forces, DoD civilians, and their families.

Gen. Richard B. Myers, USAF

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