Armed Forces Day Message from the Secretary of Defense
National Guard Bureau
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2000 Throughout our nation's history, men and women of courage and devotion have willingly defended our nation's liberties at freedom's front in any sky, on any ocean, on any shore. Fifty years ago, President Harry Truman deemed that a day be set aside to commemorate this tradition by honoring those of you who serve this nation in uniform. What President Truman observed then remains true today: It would be impossible to maintain peace and freedom without our Armed Forces.
Today, you carry the torch of this rich tradition of faithful and devoted service here at home and around the globe. Wherever you serve, whether patrolling the waters of the Pacific, risking all in the no-fly zones over Iraq, or maintaining peace in the Balkans, you are the finest force for peace the world has ever known. You are a truly inspiring team that holds tremendous hope and opportunity for people the world over.
On this fiftieth Armed Forces Day, the American people join me in expressing our profound gratitude to you, aware that your commitment to this nation does not come without peril or price. Duty often calls for prolonged periods away from family and home, in missions that can be difficult and dangerous. So it is truly fitting that we pause on this day to recognize these sacrifices and to honor you, patriots whose passion and dedication preserve the blessings of freedom every day.
As your Secretary of Defense, my message for you today is simple, and a feeling shared by all Americans: We need you. We are enormously proud of you. We thank you for your selfless service.
William S. Cohen