Cheney Expresses Holiday Thanks to Troops in Iraq, Afghanistan
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2005 Vice President Richard B. Cheney delivered personal messages of support and thanks to deployed U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan during visits to their operating areas Dec. 18 and today.
Vice President Richard Cheney takes part in a troop rally at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, Dec. 19. Photo by David Bohrer
(Click photo for screen-resolution image)
"Americans are grateful for your service. They support your mission. We're proud of each and every one of you," Cheney told troops at a surprise Dec. 18 rally at Al-Asad Air Base, in western Iraq.
The vice president told the troops he recognizes that they're missing their families and loved ones at home, particularly during the holidays. "With Christmas and Hanukkah arriving next week, I know your thoughts naturally turn to home," he said. "And your fellow Americans are thinking of you more than ever. I'm pleased to bring you the good wishes of the entire country and personal greetings from our commander in chief."
Cheney echoed that sentiment today at Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, after attending the inauguration of the new Afghan Parliament in Kabul. "With Christmas and Hanukkah just around the corner, I wanted to come and let you know how impressed we've been with the tremendous progress you've made," the vice president said.
During visits to both countries, Cheney thanked the troops for the critical role they are playing in the war on terror. "The terrorists know that as freedom takes hold, the ideologies of hatred and resentment will lose their appeal," he said in Iraq. "And the advance of democracy in this land will inspire reformers throughout the region."
As the region experiences new hope and progress, it will become more secure, "and a terrible threat will be removed from the lives of our children and grandchildren," he said.
"This is a battle for the future of civilization," Cheney said. "It's a battle worth fighting. It is a battle we are going to win."
In Afghanistan today, Cheney praised troops there for helping that country advance its course toward democracy. "We are firmly committed to the safety of the Afghan people, to the success of this democracy, and to lasting peace and stability in the region," he said at Bagram. "And by serving here today, each and every one of you is playing a vital role in that cause."
During both visits, the vice president assured troops that their country will continue to stand behind them as they sacrifice on the front lines against terrorism.
"You've carried out your duties in difficult conditions, far from home and family, often risking your lives and experiencing the loss of comrades," he said in Iraq. "You have done everything we've asked of you. You have conducted yourselves with professionalism and with honor. And when you return home from this part of the world, you can be proud of your service for the rest of your life."
In closing, Cheney thanked the troops at both sites for the wonderful job they are doing on behalf of the United States. "You're meeting every challenge with focus and great effectiveness, above all with honor," he said in Iraq. "And I want you to know especially at Christmastime how much you mean to America. This is a season for counting our blessings. Americans realize how fortunate we are to have people like you wearing the uniform of our country."
"I want to thank you, once again, for serving far from home, in an hour of great need," Cheney said in Afghanistan. "You reflect immense credit on the uniform you wear and on the cause you serve, and the nation is proud of each and every one of you."