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