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Military News Briefs for the Week of Nov. 17, 2000

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 17, 2000 – (This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending Nov. 17, 2000.)

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'WE'RE NOT LEAVING,' COHEN SAYS OF U.S.-MIDDLE EAST TIES

Terrorist attacks such as the Oct. 12 bombing of the destroyer USS Cole will not chase the United States out of the Middle East nor undermine U.S. military security agreements with nations throughout the region, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said Nov. 15 while en route to Manama, Bahrain.

Cohen said the United States will remain engaged globally. "Our security depends upon it," he said. "We intend to take whatever measures are necessary for force protection, but also to apprehend those responsible and hold them accountable. So, we're not leaving."

The secretary is on his ninth trip to the Middle East, where he will visit with U.S. troops and also meet regional leaders to discuss bilateral security issues, according to senior defense officials. In addition to Bahrain, the week-long mission includes scheduled stops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

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NATIONAL JAPANESE AMERICAN MEMORIAL TO PATRIOTISM DEDICATED

Drizzling rain was mixed with tears streaming down the faces of Japanese American World War II heroes and those who spent the war years imprisoned in isolated internment camps as the National Japanese American Memorial for Patriotism was dedicated Nov. 9 in Washington, D.C.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Rudy de Leon, speaking at the dedication, said the memorial embodies the pride and triumph of America against totalitarianism and marks the shame and humility the nation earned when it fell prey to its prejudice and fears. About 2,000 people turned out to commemorate the heroism and sacrifice of Japanese Americans who fought and died for the United States as well as the more than 120,000 men, women and children who maintained their loyalty even while in desolate internment camps.

He said the proud and overdue memorial will join others around the world that embody the heroics and dedication of the soldiers and Americans who served their country.

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GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY HELD FOR WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL

World War II veterans, many in wheelchairs or with walkers, were out in force Nov. 11 to participate in groundbreaking ceremonies for the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington.

"We're a lot like the season," said Andy Glover, a veteran from Harrisburg, Pa., as he watched the gusting wind knock leaves from the trees near the site. "We're like the leaves in that there's more of us falling each day. I'm glad I'm here to see this."

President Clinton, former Sen. Bob Dole and Defense Secretary William S. Cohen joined with the veterans to begin the process of building the $140 million structure. Speakers and veterans stressed that the memorial will honor the more than 400,000 Americans who died in the war. It will also pay tribute to the generation that fought the war. Another purpose is to school future generations about the sacrifices Americans have made for freedom. Plans call to dedicate the completed structure on Memorial Day 2003.

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