Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Gates Notes Poignancy of Veterans Day Observance

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2009 – The Nov. 5 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, provides a special sense of poignancy to this year's Veterans Day observance, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said in his annual message commemorating the holiday.

Here is the text of the secretary's message:

On this our ninth Veterans Day since the attacks on September 11th, let us take a moment to remember those, past and present, who have served our nation in uniform.

Today we remain a nation at war with hundreds of thousands of men and women deployed far from home. Those serving on the front lines face hardship, danger, and a ruthless and resourceful enemy. Their families keeping vigilant watch for their loved one's return serve and sacrifice as well.

This Veterans Day is especially poignant given the atrocity that took place at Fort Hood, where those who stepped forward to serve were cut down as they were preparing to deploy. The thoughts and prayers of the entire country are with the wounded and the families of the fallen. Our hope is that time will eventually assuage the anguish that this terrible act has caused.

Our nation cannot fully repay the debt owed our veterans and their families, but we can use this opportunity to reflect and remember what these brave Americans have done. David Lloyd George, speaking during the opening months of World War I, the conflict that began this day of remembrance, said: "The stern hand of fate has scourged us to an elevation where we can see the everlasting things that matter for a nation – the great peaks we had forgotten, of Honor, Duty, Patriotism, and clad in glittering white, the towering pinnacle of sacrifice pointing like a rugged finger to Heaven."

To America's veterans: on behalf of a grateful nation, thank you for your towering pinnacle of sacrifice on behalf of your countrymen.

Secretary of Defense

Robert M. Gates

Related Sites: Special Report: Veterans Day 2009
Special Report: Those Who Serve