President, Senate Recognize National Veterans Awareness Week

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 6, 2006 - President Bush officially declared this week National Veterans Awareness Week and urged all Americans to honor veterans who "stepped forward when America needed them most."

As the president proclaimed a weeklong tribute to the nation's 25 million veterans, the U.S. Senate issued a resolution encouraging Americans to commemorate it by teaching young people about the contributions veterans have made through the country's history.

Bush issued a proclamation paying tribute to "America's men and women in uniform (who) have defeated tyrants, liberated continents and set a standard of courage and idealism for the entire world."

Military members have protected the United States through its history, he said, placing the country's security before their own lives in a way the country can never repay. "Our veterans represent the best of America, and they deserve the best America can give them," he said.

The president urged Americans to pause this Veterans Day to honor it's the country's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen and to remember that defending freedom involves "great loss and sacrifice."

"This Veterans Day, we give thanks to those who have served freedom's cause," he said. "We salute the members of our armed forces who are confronting our adversaries abroad."

The president paid special tribute to "the men and women who left America's shores but did not live to be thanked as veterans."

"They will always be remembered by our country," he said.

Meanwhile, a Senate resolution designating this week National Veterans Awareness Week emphasizes the need to develop educational programs regarding veterans' contributions to the country.

Senate Resolution 507 recognizes the tens of millions of Americans who have served in the armed forces during the past century and the hundreds of thousands who have given their lives in that service.

It notes that the all-volunteer force has resulted in "sharp decline" in the number of Americans personally connected to the military and, as a result, the decrease in young people's awareness about "the nature and importance of the accomplishments of those who have served in the armed forces."

Recognizing that the system of civilian control of the military "makes it essential that future leaders ... understand the history of military action and the contributions and sacrifices of those who conduct such actions," the Senate resolution encourages Veterans Day activities that focus on related educational programs.

Veterans Day School Kits for teachers as well as students are posted on the VA Web site to support those programs.

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