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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 658-94
November 23, 1994

1994 THANKSGIVING DAY MESSAGES

President William J. Clinton, Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John M. Shalikashvili have issued the following messages to members of the Armed Forces in observance of Thanksgiving Day:

PRESIDENT CLINTON

"It is our great fortune to live in a country full of promise and prosperity -- a country that guarantees freedom for all of its people. Throughout our history, we have set aside a day to celebrate the many blessings we enjoy as individuals and as citizens of the United States. I am honored on this Thanksgiving Day to salute the many women and men in uniform whose honorable service to our country enables us to protect these previous liberties.

"Still only a few generations removed from our nation's founders, we continue to blaze a trail toward stability and justice. This legacy is sustained by the devotion and sacrifice of our Armed Forces. The unique relationship between our service men and women and the civilian leadership of our nation has produced a highly professional force that is capable of meeting the needs of our citizens. It is this tradition of excellence that has enabled Americans to enjoy 218 years of freedom and security.

"Our challenge now is to provide assistance and encouragement that are equitable and just and that seek to alleviate human suffering. Our responsibility is to nurture the process of peace and the acceptance of human rights. I am confident that the members of the United States Armed Forces will continue to promote these ideals both at home and around the world. You are the great defenders of America, and your daily efforts help to promote the peace and stability that allow freedom to flourish.

"On this Thanksgiving holiday, Hillary and I join all Americans in giving thanks for our many blessings. We extend our deepest gratitude to the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who make the freedoms of our nation possible. Best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving."

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SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WILLIAM J. PERRY

"Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday. It is a time when families gather to give thanks for each other and for the blessings of life in America. And it is a time with special meaning for members of America's Armed Forces.

"Many of you will spend this holiday away from homes and loved ones while serving your nation and protecting its security. Some of you will be standing guard; others will be providing assistance to people less fortunate than we. Some of you will have your Thanksgiving meal aboard ships at sea; others will eat in makeshift mess halls in faraway lands. But all of you can take great pride in the sacrifices you are making to defend the United States.

" As Americans gather together this special day, they will give thanks for their freedom and for the men and women who volunteer to maintain it.

"You are in the thoughts and prayers of a grateful nation on this holiday. To you and your families, wherever you may be stationed and whatever your mission, I send my best wishes and special gratitude for a job well done."

GEN. JOHN M. SHALIKASHVILI

"Each year during the autumn season, we Americans pause to count our blessings. The celebration of Thanksgiving commemorates the Pilgrims' bountiful harvest more than three centuries ago. Like those who began this tradition, our Armed Forces carry the torch of freedom. The Pilgrims traveled to a distant and unknown territory in the pursuit of liberty and justice in search of a "land of opportunity."

"Today, our Service members often make a similar journey -- far from the comforts of home to preserve, or secure for others less fortunate, the peace our forefathers sought. From Haiti, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, to numerous regions in Europe, the Far East and other far-reaching places of the globe, our military stands watch, ensuring the pilot light of peace burns brightly. Your presence was also felt through humanitarian assistance missions in Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda. You make a difference -- your selfless efforts give millions of people around the world reason to be thankful this holiday season. I thank each of you -- America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, civilians and family members -- for your unwavering support and many sacrifices.

"During the past year, I have traveled to nearly two dozen countries, in all parts of the world. I know first-hand that there is no better country in which to live than the United States. We have much for which to be thankful -- our democratic government, our friends, family and loved ones, and peace in our land.

"The Joint Chiefs of Staff join Mrs. Shalikashvili and me in wishing you and your family a most memorable celebration.

"Happy Thanksgiving!"

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