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Legion of Honor Award Ceremony

As Delivered by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Arlington National Cemetery, Tuesday, February 11, 2014

President Hollande, Ambassador Delattre, members of the armed services, ladies and gentlemen:

On behalf of President Obama and the United States Department of Defense, and all Americans, I thank President Hollande and the citizens of the French Republic for honoring the American Unknown Soldier of World War II. 

While this soldier’s identity is unknown, the meaning of his sacrifice is not.  He died helping liberate a continent, building a just peace, and upholding the right to be free.  His service helped change the tide of human history, and deepened the bonds between our nations.  Today, we honor that service, and the service of all Americans who served and died in World War II. 

And we celebrate centuries of friendship between our nations and between our militaries.  That friendship endures.  Together, the United States and France are partners around the world in defending our shared values and building a more hopeful future.

We are proud to be writing the next chapter in this long and storied friendship. 

Mr. President, we are deeply honored by your presence today, and by this award.

Thank you.     

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