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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 352-03
May 22, 2003

OPERATION TRIBUTE TO FREEDOM" LAUNCHED

The Department of Defense will observe Memorial Day at bases and deployed locations worldwide, marking the start of Operation Tribute to Freedom.

"Our men and women in uniform are performing brilliantly and have sacrificed much in the global war against terrorism. They have earned the thanks of all Americans," said Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

In Washington, Rumsfeld and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard B. Myers will participate in a ceremony at Arlington National Ceremony on Monday at 11 a.m. EDT. The ceremony will include the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and remarks by Rumsfeld followed by a reception with Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom military families who have lost a loved one.

Operation Tribute to Freedom will be a sustained and widespread program of activities in appreciation for our men and women in uniform and the families that support them. "In the coming days, weeks and months, Americans across the country will have the opportunity to participate in nationwide and local efforts to thank returning servicemembers for defending freedom around the world," said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Victoria Clarke.

Operation Tribute to Freedom information will be available starting Friday, May 23, at www.defendamerica.mil.

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