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Veterans Day Message

Message by Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta, Washington, DC, Thursday, November 10, 2011

 “Honoring our Nation’s Veterans”

Veterans Day is the day the American people set aside for honoring those, past and present, who’ve served our nation in uniform.

Since our nation’s founding, American service members have stepped forward to safeguard liberty for future generations.  And during the ten years since 9/11, another generation has answered this call to fight and sacrifice on foreign soil.  They have done all that was asked of them and more.  And as a result, on this Veterans Day, we are closer to prevailing in today’s fights.

In Iraq, we are ending our combat presence this year, and Iraqis are now prepared to govern and defend their own country, which will act as a force for stability in a vital region of the world.  In Afghanistan, our men and women are turning back an insurgency and building up Afghan security forces to prevent that country from ever again serving as a sanctuary for al Qaeda or its affiliates to threaten our homeland.  In Libya, our forces supported a NATO operation that protected the Libyan people from a brutal dictator, who will never again be able to threaten his citizens or undermine international security.  And on terrorism, we have significantly weakened Al Qaeda and its allies, decimated their leadership, and kept American safer.

This progress would not be possible without the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, and also of the families who love and support them.  I’m delighted that President Obama designated November as Military Family Month, encouraging Americans to do more to recognize and support these great patriots.

This country owes a profound debt to all Veterans, and military families.  In these tough economic times, we’re especially cognizant of our service members transitioning to civilian life, as well as our military spouses.  And we must give them the best possible tools to succeed in professional pursuits.  This week, I had the opportunity to meet with business leaders and press them to do just that – so that we ensure our Veterans will continue to positively impact our country’s future prosperity. 

For serving our nation with such bravery and distinction, our Veterans and current service members deserve our country’s profound gratitude – not just on Veteran’s Day, but every day.

Thank you, and may God bless all Americans serving around the world in uniform.

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