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Rumsfeld Statement on Condolences
to Service Members & Their Loved Ones
Dec. 17, 2004
Washington, D.C.

It is a solemn privilege of the many of us in the Department to meet with U.S. forces and families who have experienced injury or death in the defense
of our country.

During visits with wounded forces and their families at Walter Reed Army Hospital or at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center, I have drawn inspiration from the dignity and resolve of these wonderful young Americans and their loved ones.

Over the past years, my wife, Joyce, and I have met with several hundred wounded troops and their families during visits to intensive care units, therapy facilities, and their rooms in military hospitals in the United States and abroad.

During visits to military installations, I have met with still others during their visits to the Pentagon. Joyce and I also have met together and individually with spouses and children of those killed in action.

At the earliest moment in the global war on terror, I determined that it is important that military families who have lost loved ones in hostile actions receive a letter from me directly.

I wrote and approved the now more than 1000 letters sent to family members and next of kin of each of the servicemen and women killed in military action. While I have not individually signed each one, in the interest of ensuring expeditious contact with grieving family members, I have directed that in the future I sign each letter.

I am deeply grateful for the many letters I have received from the families of those who have been killed in the service of our country, and I recognize and honor their personal loss.

Last Updated:
11/30/2005, Eastern Daylight Time
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