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Holiday Remarks From the Secretary of Defense

American Forces Press Service

This holiday season, families all across America will gather with neighbors and friends to rekindl, Dec. 17, 2001 – especially now when they are under such unprecedented attack.

As America's Armed Forces, you are the sharp sword of Freedom. You fight without complaint on foreign seas, in dangerous skies, and on hostile lands. You voluntarily put your lives at risk, and sacrifice your comfort and the comfort of your families, so all of our fellow citizens can enjoy the blessings and benefits of liberty.

It is a sacrifice made even more precious by the fact that you render it so willingly.

In describing the "citizen soldiers" of an earlier era, historian Stephen Ambrose wrote, "At the core (they) knew the difference between right and wrong, and were unwilling to live in a world in which evil triumphed. So they fought and they won, and we and those yet to be born are eternally grateful."

Like those heroes of an earlier era, you too stand against evil the shadowy evil of terrorism. And like them, you also will be victorious. Of that, there is no doubt.

So as the stars of the winter sky shine brightly, and the prayers of people everywhere who long for peace look up to meet them, know that the hearts and prayers of Americans are with you. We salute your courage, we appreciate your sacrifice, and we pray each day for your success.

On behalf of the President, the Department of Defense, and all the American people, I extend our warmest and most heartfelt wishes for a safe and happy holiday season.

Donald H. Rumsfeld

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The secretary's holiday remarks can be viewed at http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/holiday2001/secdef.html/.

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