Military Salutes Commander in Chief
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 9, 2001 President Clinton told military members that the "world is safer, and America stands taller" because of them.
The military honored its commander in chief and Hillary Rodham Clinton Jan. 5 with a full honors review here. Ceremonial hosts were Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Army Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
President Bill Clinton, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Army Gen. Henry Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, salute the colors during a full honors review at Fort Myer, Va. The military honored its commander in chief Jan. 5. Photo by Paul Haring.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Before an honor guard of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, Clinton said there is "no greater honor in being president than to be commander in chief of these magnificent people, so many of them so young." He said service members defend American interests and advance American values throughout the globe.
"Most of the time, they do it with all the gusto and fervor of youth, all the discipline that long training brings," Clinton said. "But on occasion, they do it at the cost of their all too young lives."
Clinton said America saw this sacrifice most recently when terrorists bombed the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen, "but every year, in ways that don't make the headlines, about 200 of these young people give their lives just doing their duty."
He detailed the military challenges of the eight years of his presidency. "Thanks to you, working with our Korean allies, there is peace in the Korean Peninsula and a new hope for reconciliation across the last dividing line of the Cold War," Clinton said. "Thanks to you, arm-in-arm with an expanded NATO, ethnic cleansing and slaughter in Bosnia and Kosovo has ended."
Clinton said it was because of American service members that the world is closer to a Europe that is peaceful and undivided, "a Europe where it is far less likely that young Americans will have to fight and die there in this new century."
He said American service members standing guard in the Persian Gulf kept Iraq's Saddam Hussein from threatening his neighbors. "Thanks to you, Haiti is free from dictators, East Timor free of oppression and Africa is beginning to prepare itself to solve more of its own problems."
In introductory remarks, Shelton thanked Clinton for his work in improving the military's quality of life. "You, with great support from the Congress, put us firmly on the road to equitable compensation with the largest pay raise in two decades, and you also worked with the Congress to restore our health care promise to our military members and retirees with TRICARE reform," Shelton said. The chairman also thanked the president for his support in restoring the military retirement benefit.
Cohen thanked Clinton for reaching across the divide between the political parties to choose him as the defense secretary. That act showed the world that "when it comes to our men and women in uniform, America must always stand as one."
He said Clinton has helped lay the foundation for a lasting peace. "As the Soviet Union gave way to Russia, it was this president who pushed for a greater Partnership for Peace, an enlarged NATO and a more stable Europe," Cohen said. "And as freelance enemies the world over sought new and deadly means of attack, it was this president who brought about the elimination of nuclear weapons from three former adversaries, and led the fight for a treaty banning chemical weapons."
The president and first lady received awards from the services and DoD.