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A Message to Military Families from the Secretary of Defense

National Guard Bureau

WASHINGTON, June 14, 2001 – As Father's Day approaches, I'm reminded of my father and his proud service in the Navy during World War II. I remember my experiences growing up in a Navy family. We moved quite a bit when I was young, and there were times when my father's duty aboard an aircraft carrier in the Pacific Ocean took him away from home for long periods. But we knew we were supporting him in work that was important to our country. Later, during my own service in the Navy, I learned, as my father had, what it means to serve your country with the support of a dedicated family.

The family is the foundation of success -- and, in a life of military service, spouses and children are truly active participants. Spouses endure long separations from their loved ones, and sometimes run households and raise children alone. Children miss parents who are deployed or work long hours and learn to support both their parents through their own sacrifices. They do this each day with little fanfare and all too little recognition.

To the men and women who wear our nation's uniform, you should know that yours is truly noble work. You wake up each morning and voluntarily offer to put your lives at risk so your fellow citizens can go about their days in peace and freedom. And your families and loved ones, who sacrifice and support you as you do your important work, are themselves providing a noble service to our country.

For your dedication and devotion to your noble calling, we thank you. The President has said that our men and women in uniform and their families "are the foundation of America's military readiness." We will do our part to make sure this foundation is strong and healthy."

Donald H. Rumsfeld

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