In this season of gratitude, I want to say how deeply honored and thankful I am to serve alongside the men and women of the Department of Defense.
In his proclamation establishing Thanksgiving as a national holiday, President George Washington set aside this day for Americans to reflect on their many blessings, which include living in a republic dedicated to securing the “safety and happiness” of its people.
Each and every day, you commit yourselves to this cause – protecting and serving our great Nation – not for fortune or personal gain, but for a safe, free, and prosperous future for all Americans.
Whether reassuring our partners and allies in the skies over Europe or in the waters of the Pacific; denying safe haven to terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan; or supporting civil authorities across the Nation, you have never wavered from your mission of serving the American people.
This year, you did all of this while tackling the greatest public health crisis in more than a century. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 60,000 Service members have answered our Nation’s call. From building alternate care facilities to manning testing and screening stations and distributing food and medical supplies, you’ve demonstrated why Americans place their highest trust in the United States military.
You have also been at the forefront of the Department’s support to Operation Warp Speed. By the end of the year, the American people will have access to millions of doses of life-saving vaccines.
No matter the challenges or circumstances, I know our military will continue to rise to the occasion, just as it has done for more than 200 years – innovating, adapting, and overcoming any obstacle to see our mission through, in the finest traditions of the United States Armed Forces.
This is why I am thankful today and every day for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, Space Professionals, and civilians who have dedicated their lives to supporting and defending the Constitution so that all Americans can enjoy the blessings of this great country.
With our deepest gratitude, Kate and I wish you and your families a safe, restful, and blessed Thanksgiving.