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Veterans Day Message to the Troops (Washington, D.C.)
From Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, Washington, D.C., Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day was originally created to commemorate the coming of peace. It marked the armistice of the First World War, when the guns fell silent on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. We now set aside November 11th to pay tribute to Americans who have fought and sacrificed not only in that conflict, but in every other, past and present.
 
Tens of millions of our citizens have served, and we owe each and every one of them a debt of gratitude. Today, volunteers are once again deployed on distant battlefields against those who would terrorize and intimidate the civilized world.
 
The current generation of servicemen and women – the veterans of tomorrow – deserve the reassurance that after their service is complete they will receive the best care and support this great and prosperous nation can give.  
 
I take very seriously the Department of Defense’s obligation to improve the treatment and benefits accorded to military men and women who have served and sacrificed in the current conflicts.
 

The Department of Defense is making significant changes to the current system including:

 

  • Revising the disability evaluation system to speed up the process and get benefits to veterans faster.
  • Assigning life-long recovery coordinators to manage the care of our wounded, ill, and injured troops so that they can return to duty or, if separated from the armed forces, successfully reintegrate into civilian life.

          Those rebuilding their lives after being injured in defense of their country must have excellent care from the time they leave the theater of battle through their return to civilian life.

         

          To them, and to all of America’s veterans, we celebrate your selflessness. We thank you for your courage. And we honor you for putting your lives at risk to make our nation safer and bring about a more peaceful world.