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Indianapolis 500 Opening Ceremony
Remarks as Delivered by Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indianapolis, Indiana, Sunday, May 28, 2000

Ladies and gentlemen, let me say that I'm going to be very brief in bringing you one special message, and that is that we are proud to be here at one of the greatest sporting events in the world to pay tribute to the finest military in the world. [Applause.]

When Janet [Cohen] was growing up in Indiana shortly after World War II, virtually every family had a member or a friend in the military. We paid tribute to great Americans who are here today, and I want to introduce them to you. We have three Medal of Honor recipients. We have Sammy L. Davis, come on up here, David Dolby and Michael Thorton. [Applause.]

These gentlemen represent service from all the way from World War II through Vietnam. And they are the reason that each one of us sleeps under the blanket of freedom safely every night, and they represent the best and the brightest of our country. So please pay tribute to them. [Applause.]

And when you heard the sound of those Harriers and saw the sight of those Harriers overhead, as one said, that was the sound of freedom. And thank God, they're ours.

Now, tomorrow is going to be a special day, and I'm asking that all Americans join in paying tribute tomorrow with a Moment of Remembrance, the first national moment of remembrance, when we will celebrate to pay tribute to all of our fallen heroes, but then again every day to celebrate and salute the men and women in uniform who keep us safe and free and proud.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much. [Applause.]