Hagel Issues Armed Forces Day Message

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, May 16, 2014 – Tomorrow is Armed Forces Day, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has issued the following message to service members, veterans and their families to mark the occasion:

For the past 65 years, America has taken the opportunity each May to celebrate Armed Forces Day - a day when our nation expresses its deep and abiding gratitude for all those who help protect and defend our country and its people. In the words of President Dwight Eisenhower, "it is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to paying special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world."

To every United States Soldier, Sailor, Airman, Marine, and Coast Guardsmen: On this day, and all days, you have every reason to be proud to wear the uniform. You are members of the greatest fighting force on earth, one that strives to make a better world for all mankind. You are respected and admired by your friends, your fellow countrymen and our allies. Your presence is welcomed around the world, and you are making a profound difference in the world.

To our nation's military spouses, partners, children, parents, and families: Today we also recognize and celebrate the vital love and support you provide our men and women in uniform. We are grateful not only for their service and sacrifices, but also for yours.

To America's veterans: Today we thank you for devoting so much to the country you love, and we renew our unceasing commitment to honoring you with the care, the compassion, and the dignity you deserve.

As our nation marks its 13th consecutive Armed Forces Day at war, and as service members continue to return home from the battlefield, we reaffirm a basic responsibility that we all share. We must do more than merely hold these brave individuals in such high regard; we must support them in every way, knowing that whatever we do, we can always do more.

We're proud of all of you.

Chuck Hagel

Secretary of Defense

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