Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Message from VA Sec. Shinseki

A Christmas Message

From Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki

WASHINGTON (Dec. 22, 2010)-- The second year of our declared
independence found General George Washington's Continental Army encamped
at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania.  In the week before Christmas of 1777,
more than 12,000 poorly-clothed, hungry and near-frozen American
soldiers were huddled against a brutal winter, enduring the numbing cold
as disease ravaged their ranks.  As many as 2,000 of them did not
survive Valley Forge.

General Washington wrote that, "unless some great and capital change
suddenly takes place. . . this Army must inevitably. . . starve,
dissolve, or disperse, in order to obtain subsistence in the best manner
they can."

Despite these bleak conditions, the fighting men of the Continental Army
lifted their own spirits, located much needed supplies and took to
training with determined vigor. They honed their basic fighting skills,
learned new tactics, preserved their dwindling strength and disciplined
themselves for the difficult campaign that would follow.  It was an act
of sublime courage and determination.  Six months later, the Continental
Army marched out of Valley Forge fit and ready, stronger and more
cohesive as a fighting force, and went on to seize American
independence.

Since that winter, American patriots in an unbroken line have found
themselves on duty during the holiday season each year.  Our freedom and
security as a nation has required it.  So as Americans and their
families gather to celebrate these holidays, let us remember the men and
women, who sacrifice so much for our privileges, comforts and
well-being.  They are away from their own families, standing watch for
us on freedom's distant frontiers.  We salute their valor, past and
present, and we pray for them and our Veterans, who have so selflessly
given us the gifts we enjoy this holiday season, as we have every season
since 1775.

I offer my warmest best wishes for a blessed and joyous holiday to all
our serving military, our Veterans, all of their families, the survivors
of the fallen, and the members of our Veterans Affairs family, who are
privileged to serve them.  May God bless each and every one of you, and
may God continue to bless this wonderful country of ours.  Merry
Christmas.

1 comment:

fleslie10 said...

First I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, especially all the veterans and those serving now.
1777 was the year of the little ice age, George Washington was about to surrender, and General Marquis de Lafayette persuaded him to let the Oneida, Chief Skenandoah help, who then sent runners several hundred miles north to their camps requesting food and medicine which the men and women carried through the mountains. When they arrived, the men hunted for meat and the women feed and nursed the troops back to health, (Proof - How were the starving and dying troops healthy enough to beat the Hessian Soldiers at Trenton, another Proof look up Polly Copper on the internet). That is why George Washington did not surrender, We should all know our history, but the true history.