As I told troops stationed out in the Middle East this week, you are the reason the United States still enjoys its vast array of allies and partners. You are the reason we still field the most powerful military in human history. You and your families represent our shared sense of purpose, our dedication to democracy, and our uniquely American optimism for the future.
Wherever this holiday finds you, please know how thankful I am for your service and for the support and love you receive from your families. Please also remember to check in on your teammates and let them know you care. Not everyone enjoys the holidays quite the same, and for many of us there will be an empty chair at the table -- a reminder of loss and longing.
Again, thank you for everything you do. I am immensely grateful. I wish you and your families my best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.
Lloyd J. Austin III
Secretary of Defense
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