As our nation marks its 65th annual Armed Forces Day, we are reminded why our men and women in uniform comprise the finest fighting force the world has ever known. They not only continue to defend our country with unmatched skill and devotion; they also help make a better and more peaceful world for our children.
Today we are especially mindful of the nearly 200,000 servicemembers currently beyond our shores protecting America’s interests. They are standing for our shared values in Europe against those who would turn back the clock. They are standing with our friends and allies against savagery in the Middle East. In the Asia-Pacific – where new powers rise, old tensions still simmer, and half of humanity resides – they are responding to disasters and standing up for a continuation of the decades-long miracle of development and progress underwritten by the United States. And in cyberspace, they are standing with those who create and innovate against those who seek to steal, destroy, and exploit.
To the more than 2 million soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and coast guardsmen who defend the United States of America – we thank you and your families for answering the call to serve. Know that DoD’s senior leaders and I are as committed as ever to safeguarding you, to ensuring you’re treated with dignity and respect, and, above all, to ensuring that when you’re sent into harm’s way, it’s done with the utmost care. Today, and every day, we are grateful for what you do.