Chairmans Independence Day Message
National Guard Bureau
WASHINGTON, June 24, 1999 In 1776, American patriots declared their independence and fought the greatest power of their time to earn the blessings of liberty that have become the birthright of all Americans. Their legacy is nothing less than our independence, prosperity, and very existence as a free nation.
In the ensuing years, the United States came of age and emerged as a world power. Throughout our country’s history, America’s sons and daughters have repeatedly been called upon to defend the freedoms the early patriots fought so hard to win. In peace and war, at sea, on land, and in the air, America’s armed forces have remained faithful to the noble calling of protecting our great nation and the bedrock principles on which it stands.
Today, on the last Independence Day of this millennium, you -- America’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen -- stand watch over our precious freedoms. You proudly perform your sacred duty despite enormous danger, personal sacrifice, and lengthy separation from families and friends. Your task is not easy. But it is your willingness to serve that helps define America’s greatness, both at home and abroad.
On this Independence Day, America honors you and all those who went before you. On behalf of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, thank you for all you do every day in defense of America’s freedom.
HENRY H. SHELTON
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff