Thank you....

Wow, and thanks to all the members of the local community: [MG] Will [Grimsley, III Corps Deputy Commanding General], Terry [Tuggle, Fort Hood Good Neighbor member], and the others out there for coming out and helping us here. I want to tell you up front I had nothing to do with the rain stopping. (Laughter)

I look back there and see all those Soldiers. Raise your hand. For how many of you is this the first time you have been in the library' (Laughter)

This is wonderful for me to come back for several reasons. One is that it's personal. I have watched this library move from holding 18,000, which is where it was when I first came here as Chief of Staff [of 1st Cavalry Division]. Linda Featherscreen and Butch Funk was kind enough to invite me back from Germany, where I was Chief of Staff of V Corps. I helped rededicate the building, and somehow I missed the [next] move to the auto shop. (Laughter) The last time I was in this building I was changing my oil. (Laughter)

But to come back here... it is very personal. You remember that last week we completed the drawdown of our Soldiers in Iraq to 50,000, and changed the mission. We have ended the combat mission. Last week, I wrote a note to the Army. One of the things I said in that note is now is an opportunity to recommit to remembering the sacrifices of the Soldiers that we lost and to the Families who lost them, and so this is very personal to the Casey family to have a place where my father is remembered. I look for every member of the Army Family who lost someone to be able to say that their loved one's sacrifice is both appreciated and not forgotten. So this again, first, is a personal thing for us.

Second: it is an opportunity for me and the Army to restate our commitment to our Families and to our Soldiers. I think some of you remember, back in 2007, that we instituted the Army Family Covenant. We have been beavering away and improving what we are doing for our Soldiers and Families, and particularly for our children who have borne the brunt of a lot of these repeated deployments.

And as we go into a period now where we will start having 18-24 months home before going back-that is a good thing. But it is also going to give us more time to deal with some of the things we haven't dealt with for the last several years because we have been going so fast I think the services that we will have here for Soldiers and Families can help see us through that.

And I think the last thing I think [expanding the library] is important for is that: it allows us to restate our commitment to education. Education is the key to success. Reading is the key to a good education, and whether you read paper books or internet books, it is reading that is important. To have a facility like this to start our children off reading at an early age is exactly the kind of thing we need to do-not only for our military children-but for all children... and not only in the United States of America, because today [the 8th of September] is "International Literacy Day'. And I would like to be able to tell you I planned it that way (Laughter), but I just happened to read about it on the plane flying into Fort Hood (Laughter).

So, from a personal perspective, thank you very much for honoring me and my Family with this rededication. And, from the professional level-education is the key, and our support to our Soldiers and Families will continue and only get better. So, thank you very much for coming out.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16