This holiday season, families all across America will gather with
neighbors and friends to rekindle old friendships, revive honored
traditions, and renew the hope and love that is part of the season.
And as they do, their thoughts and prayers will naturally turn to
you, the men and women whose mission it is to defend peace and freedom
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 that all of our
fellow citizens can enjoy the blessings and the benefits of liberty.
It's 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 that 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 a happy holiday.