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Thanksgiving Message to the Troops from the Secretary of Defense

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 25, 2002 – Holiday greetings to the men and women of the Armed Forces, as you gather to celebrate this day of friendship and worship.

Some are spending this Thanksgiving Day with family and loved ones; others of you are far from home, standing watch for freedom. Wherever you are, I want you to know that your country is grateful for your service and for your sacrifice. Each of you is in our hearts and our prayers as we give thanks today for the blessings in our lives.

On this day sixty years ago, World War II was raging. American soldiers were spread across the globe. Many gave their lives to defeat the Axis powers and save the world from tyranny.

Today, we are once again engaged in a battle -- this time it is a battle between freedom and terror, extremism and fanaticism. And today, once again, the men and women in uniform are risking their lives in the defense of liberty.

In Afghanistan, you and our coalition forces defeated the terrorists, rescued a country and liberated a people. Today, you are on the ground in dozens of countries, and patrolling seas and skies, hunting down terrorists so that they too, cannot kill again.

All Americans can give thanks that our freedom and way of life are defended by the strongest and most skilled military force in the world. And each of us can also give thanks for the American people, whose steadfast support is helping us accomplish our mission in the global war on terror.

I salute each of you for your patriotism, your sacrifice, your dedication. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. We have a great deal to be thankful for. May God bless you all.

Donald H. Rumsfeld

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