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Clinton Honors America's Service Members

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 27, 1997 – The nation must ensure America's men and women in uniform have the best training, equipment and preparation possible to do their jobs, "because even in times of peace, we must remain vigilant in a very new and still uncertain world."

President Clinton made this pledge during Memorial Day services at Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery. He also paid tribute to America's service members, those lost in freedom's cause, families of the unaccounted for, veterans of America's wars and today's troops.

It is America's responsiblity "to remain the world's leading force for peace and prosperity and freedom as we enter the 21st century, so that future generations of young Americans who wear our uniform will never have to endure the losses in battles that our predecessors did in the 20th century," he said.

The president recalled Army Gen. George C. Marshall's belief that to be strong and safe at home, the United States must lead the world to peace and security. "Now, at the end of the Cold War, when there appears to be no looming threat on the horizon, we must rise to Marshall's challenge in our day. ... We must create the institutions and the understandings that will advance the security and prosperity of the American people for the next 50 years," he said.

Clinton, spoke at Arlington on the eve of his departure for a European trip that would include signing the NATO-Russian partnership pact. He hailed the agreement as a major step toward a new era of cooperation in Europe. He said he would challenge Europe's people to work with America to complete Marshall's plan for an undivided, democratic Europe during ceremonies at The Hague celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Marshall Plan.

"We must learn the lessons Gen. Marshall and his generation left us," Clinton said. "Their sacrifice and their spirit call upon us to seize this moment, to shape the peace of the present for future generations, to turn the hope we share into a history we can all be proud of."

Clinton pledged to renew America's commitment to lead the world toward greater peace and security, freedom and prosperity. "In doing that," he said, "we will make Americans safer. We will allow our men and women in uniform to stand sentinel for our freedom with less risk to their lives."

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