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Remarks by Secretary Panetta at Gooding Car Auction, Monterey, Calif.

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta
August 18, 2012

            (JOINED IN PROGRESS) 

            SECRETARY OF DEFENSE LEON E. PANETTA:  Thank you, David.  I appreciate your generosity in hosting this and Jay, thank you for your generosity in providing the little Italian car that will be sold here. 

            This is a great honor for me to have this opportunity and I appreciate that fact that it's taking place here in my hometown of Monterey, gives me chance to get the hell out of Washington and be able to come home.  (Applause.) 

            I am very proud as Secretary of Defense to represent probably the most powerful military force in the world.  And we have, as many of you know, we have great -- great weapons, great fighters, great carriers, great technology -- cutting edge technology and so much, and yet the most important thing we have, none of that is worth much, most important thing we have are men and women in uniform who are willing to serve this country and put their lives on the line.  (Applause.) 

            I can't tell you how important it is in our country that there are those that are willing to be in the battle. 

            As we speak, there are those in Afghanistan who are fighting, and yes, some are dying in order to protect this country. 

            And so, it is truly an honor to be able to be at an event that is going to help fund the Fisher House. 

            We've had a lot of seriously wounded individuals.  And I was at Bethesda yesterday, and these kids are stepping on IEDs, on mines and getting the most serious injuries you can imagine.  But because of the Fisher House Foundation, they are able to provide the kind of rehabilitation and help that gives all of these kids a chance to be able to continue their lives, to go back to the communities and really be able to become good, solid Americans by virtue of the generosity of the Fisher House and all it does. 

            So I am really thankful to Jay for his willingness to put this little Italian car up for sale.  As Ray said, it's Odierno, it's Panetta, it's Leno, you better damn well bid on this Italian car and make it a good bid. 

            Thank you.  (Applause.) 

            Correction:  Aug. 20, 2012 -- The date was changed from Sunday, Aug. 19 to Saturday, Aug. 18 to reflect the date of the event.

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