Thank you very much.

During the last week I have had the opportunity to travel the nation. What I have learned as I traveled across the country is the deep respect that the men and women of this country have for the United States Army. That respect has been earned. As we stand here tonight, and as we celebrate this great birthday that we have, it is really about celebrating the millions of Soldiers, men and women, who have come before us. That is what our Army is about. It is about those who come before us. It is about those who stand here today with us. And it is about those who will come behind us in the future, carrying on a tradition like no other. You all are a part of that tradition. You should never, ever forget that.

As you represent us around the world, as we sit here today enjoying this great meal, enjoying great friends, enjoying camaraderie, we have 94,000 Soldiers deployed: 68,000 in Afghanistan, thousands of others in Bosnia, Kosovo, and other nations in the Middle East. We have another 90,000 Soldiers forward stationed in 150 nations. They represent us, but they don't just represent us. They represent our country with the moral and ethical values that they bring forward. They represent America, the greatest country in the world. That is who we are, and that is who we will be.

I will just remind you that over the last ten years in our Army, there has been over 14,000 Valorous Awards presented to American Soldiers, 6 Medals of Honor, 25 Distinguished Service Crosses, 650+ Silver Stars. But those were men and women who were just doing their job. They were just asked to go forward, protect this nation in order to secure the freedoms and liberty that we have been so able to enjoy for so many years. That is why I am so proud to wear this uniform and stand side by side with each and every one of you every single day.

If you look to your right over there, you will see the Army colors. There are 183 streamers that adorn those colors: 183 times, 183 campaigns that this Army has sweated for, has sacrificed and bled for. That is who you are. That is who we are, and this is who we will continue to be as we move forward. We couldn't do this without our families and the incredible support that we get everyday from our great families, the sacrifices of our spouses, the sacrifices of our children, and the sacrifices of the communities that continue to support us as we conduct the business of our Nation. So I want everybody here today to give me a round of applause for our families who have supported us.

I will tell you that we will continue to endeavor to uphold our Nation's trust by remaining morally, ethically upright and reflecting the values of this great country, this country that has no fear, that is like no other. I want you all to remember no matter how long you serve, once a Soldier, always a Soldier. I want to thank everyone here for their steadfast commitment to the Army, which includes my great partner, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Jim Amos and his wife Bonnie, and Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Joe Dunford and his wife. Thank you so much for all you do.

I leave you with the strength of our Nation is our Army. The strength of our Army is our Soldiers. The strength of our Soldiers is our families. That is what makes us Army strong. Be proud of that. Army Strong!

Page last updated Wed June 27th, 2012 at 15:00