Thank you very much. I want to thank all of you for showing us what we consider to be an important trait in the Army. That is resiliency. You hung in there through the rain, so I want to give everybody a round of applause. As always we are very fortunate tonight to have with us Pershing's Own United States Army Band, the Soldiers of the Old Guard, including the Fife and Drum Corps, the Presidential Salute Battery, and the U.S. Army Drill Team. As always you look great, no matter the weather, you proved that again tonight. Your performances throughout the world and throughout the United States, including here tonight, epitomize the very best of our Army. We look forward with great anticipation to tonight's Twilight Tattoo and extend our utmost respect and gratitude for your service, talent, and your continued commitment to excellence.

I send a warm welcome to everyone that is here tonight, and more importantly for your incredible support for our Soldiers and Army Families. The support of a grateful Nation bolsters our Soldiers in all that they do, both at home and abroad. That faith is what drives them. That welcome home, shaking of their hands, thanking them for their service reinforces that their steadfast dedication and sacrifices are not overlooked. Tonight is a special night. We are honored to have with us tonight five individuals that in my mind have gone above and beyond in their selfless support of our Troops. We are going to officially recognize them in just a moment, but I want to briefly explain what their contributions mean to the Army.

Lynn Chotsky oversees Sesame Street's Workshops Military Families Project. She develops innovative tools to cultivate resiliency for the unique life experiences that accompany military service, including dealing with extended absences of a parent, or in some cases both parents during deployments; preparing for reunions and transitions when parents come home; and coping with grief when a parent is wounded in action or killed in action. The tools that Lynn has personally equipped our families with include multimedia resource kits distributed to nearly 3 million children worldwide, award winning televisions specials that team celebrities with Sesame Street characters, and an interactive website called "Military Families Near and Far" that connects our children and families around the world, letting them know there are others out there going through some of the same things. All of these initiatives reach the hearts of our children through a very powerful medium. Thank you Lynn for everything you do. We truly appreciate your great contributions. Thank you very much.

The second person I would like to recognize is Tom Coughlin. He is the great coach of the Super Bowl Champion New Your Giants. Tom has generously hosted Soldiers and Army Families at Giants' practices and games throughout the last several years. He has poured incredible personal time and energy into recognizing and supporting our Wounded Warriors and Veterans. Somewhere in his schedule he makes time to visit troops in hospitals and even in our combat zones. I would say Tom's personal courage is on display today as he traveled into hostile Washington Redskin territory. But I think he can handle it. Tom, thank you for the great work that you do. Congratulations for all the great things that you've done for our troops and their Families.

Bob Delaney is a true champion for our Soldiers and Families. He is totally dedicated to helping with efforts to effectively deal with Post Traumatic Stress and curb suicide. Bob has traveled both in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the Army to continue to help our Soldiers and their Families, sharing his own personal experience from years as an undercover officer bringing justice to organized crime in New Jersey. He has helped them deal with the many problems they have, and he continues to make real difference for our Soldiers. He is also now an author and retired NBA referee. Bob, thank you so much for everything you do.

John Harbaugh is the coach of the Baltimore Ravens. John clearly deserves recognition for his substantial volunteer efforts visiting troops across the Nation and overseas, and especially his support for Wounded Warriors and Army Families. I cannot overstate how meaningful it is when someone of his caliber displays such passion and support for our Soldiers and their Families. He engenders a feeling of pride in our Soldiers and bolsters their morale. John, thanks for everything that you've done and continue to do. We appreciate you.

Linda Patterson is the founder and President of Americans Supporting Americans. Her organization has worked tirelessly for over 40 years to encourage communities and civic groups nationwide to adopt deployed Soldiers and Units. The adopted units can count on receiving letters and packages as well as arriving home to top notch Welcome Home events supported by their adoptive communities. We are also fortunate that Linda's husband Steve is also able to join us today. The story that brought Linda and Steve together is quite remarkable. Before they met, Steve was a Platoon Leader in Vietnam serving in the same Unit as Linda's brother. During this time in 1968, Linda convinced the city of San Mateo, California, to adopt her brother's Unit. Tragically, Linda's brother was killed in action just two weeks after the Unit was adopted. Later on that year, Linda traveled to Vietnam to deliver Christmas gifts to the Unit her brother had served with. Steve was assigned as her military escort. Their relationship developed from there. They eventually married and have since poured their hearts out to support our Soldiers and Families. Thank you very much Linda and Steve for this great story and the work you do.

These individuals have dedicated an enormous amount of time and effort to support, enable, and empower our Soldiers and Army Families. Today I am proud to not only acknowledge their support they have given to our Army, but to tell them how grateful we are for what they do as role models and selfless leaders throughout our communities. The strength of our Nation is our Army. The strength of our Army is our Soldiers. The strength of our Soldiers is our Families. And this is what makes us Army Strong.

Thank you all for being here this evening.

Page last updated Tue May 29th, 2012 at 10:34