Thank you for the opportunity to
salute the magnificent soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coastguardsman, as well as
the civilians who have received our Nation's highest award for valor. We owe a
tremendous debt of gratitude to each of them for the conspicuous gallantry, unwavering
intrepidity, and selfless dedication they displayed in defending freedom.
All Americans are indeed fortunate to
live in a land of opportunity, freedom, and hope. We must always remember, however,
that the price our forefathers--and our veterans--paid for these liberties was enormously
high. Throughout history, Americans have met the challenges of their day and
protected this Nation with their lives and treasure--and none have done so with greater
devotion than those represented here.
Today, America's sons and daughters in
uniform continue this great legacy of service and sacrifice. They are on duty around
the world, carrying out the dangerous and difficult business of defending freedom and
democracy. America must not take them for granted. They have truly earned the
respect and appreciation of a grateful Nation.
With best wishes,