Independence Day Honors Servicemembers’ Selfless Service
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 3, 2007 America’s servicemembers should give themselves a big pat on the back tomorrow as the nation celebrates its Declaration of Independence, the most-senior U.S. military officer said in a statement to troops and families today.
This year marks the 231st observance of the Fourth of July as America’s Independence Day, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, noted.
“Traditionally, America celebrates the Fourth of July with family picnics, community parades, patriotic concerts, and colorful fireworks,” Pace said. “This year, as you commemorate the birthday of our great nation, I would ask that each of you in uniform pause and consider the personal role you -- and the generations before you -- have played in America’s freedom.”
As citizens across the United States celebrate Independence Day, many overseas-deployed servicemembers “will miss the family gatherings and hometown parades,” he said. Those servicemembers deployed to far-flung locales in support of the war against terrorism “stand guard protecting the freedoms we all cherish,” he added.
Today’s military members possess “a full understanding of exactly what service to this nation means,” said Pace, who also saluted servicemembers’ “exceptional courage and selflessness.”
Thousands of military members have served two, three or four tours of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan, he said. Yet, these troops “remain committed to making a difference,” he said.
“To you, and to your families who sacrifice and serve as well as anyone in uniform, you have my heartfelt thanks and best wishes for a happy and safe Independence Day,” Pace said.
He said he and the Joint Chiefs are privileged to serve with America’s military men and women.
“We are forever grateful for your commitment that this holiday honors,” Pace said.