(As Written by Secretary of Defense Ash Carter, Washington, D.C.)
As we celebrate Independence Day, I want to thank the men and women who serve our nation at home and abroad for all that you do to help keep America safe.
When George Washington issued one of his first general orders on July 4, 1775, he transformed a loose group of colonial militias into a single force united in a common cause. They built a legacy that lives on today, through generations of patriots like you, who have defended the ideals enshrined in our founding documents: the belief that we are all created equal and endowed with unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the risks you take, and the sacrifices you make, that ensure those ideals endure for all of us.
This Independence Day, you, including the nearly 200,000 troops currently serving overseas and unable to spend this holiday with their loved ones, continue to protect our country and ensure a more peaceful and prosperous world for our children. In Europe and the Middle East, across the Asia-Pacific and in Africa, in cyber-space and at home, you prove that wherever our troops go, our highest ideals – the ones Washington and his troops fought for – go with them.
As Americans celebrate at home and around the world, my thoughts are with you and with your families.
May God bless you, and may God bless the great nation we defend. Happy Independence Day.