WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2009 - President Barack Obama has proclaimed the week of Nov. 22-28 as National Family Week, and the nation's top military officer has issued a message to all military families in honor of their contributions to the nation.

Here is the text of the message from Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to military families worldwide:

As we count our blessings this month, America's soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen serve day and night around the globe to defend our Nation. We are all very proud of them, and yet we should never forget that none of them do it alone. The extraordinary families who support them sacrifice every bit as much to make their service possible. In the spirit of giving thanks, we devote this week to honor and appreciate our military families.

Our families serve as the bedrock for our Nation's defense. Family members may not shoulder a weapon, drive a ship or fly combat sorties, but their commitment, support and endurance is a source of great pride and inspiration for us all. From care packages to emails to invaluable friendship, your love and devotion helps our forces do their very best. I can think of no better words to express this than those spoken by a Soldier from the 25th Infantry Division upon his return from Afghanistan. Reflecting on his family's help while deployed, he said "just receiving letters ... seems to give you the motivation needed to stay upbeat. I couldn't do this without your support."

Our combat readiness stems from readiness at home, and America's might is a reflection of the power of military families. As a Nation, we can certainly never say or do enough to express our gratitude for their devotion and sacrifice, but this week is one way in which we show our appreciation.

On behalf of my family and those of the Joint Chiefs, to all our military families, past and present, we thank you for your service and for your love. Our Nation's strength and honor depend upon you. Because of you, we truly accomplish far more than we ever could alone.


Admiral, U.S. Navy