For 371 years, the National Guard has been an enduring influence on the development of our Nation as a democracy and as a world power. From its beginnings in Massachusetts in 1636 as an organization for local security to today's deployments at home and abroad in support of the Global War on Terrorism, the National Guard's Citizen Soldiers' exemplary performance has protected us from our enemies who are bent on destroying our country and our way of life.

The National Guard has participated in every one of our Nation's conflicts. Whether standing firm on Lexington Green in 1775, negotiating the Filipino jungle in 1899, wading ashore at Normandy, or securing the people of Iraq, the National Guard has faithfully answered the Nation's call to service abroad. At home, the individual States continue to rely on the National Guard during emergencies for the protection of life and property and the preservation of peace, order and public safety. It is from these successes that the enduring characteristic of our military heritage remains the Citizen Soldier.

Today, we pay tribute to the courage, compassion, and sacrifice of all Citizen Soldiers - past, present, and future - and their Families. Your dedication and selfless service to the Nation remain the hallmarks of the National Guard and the United States Army.

The Honorable Pete Geren
Secretary of the Army

Gen. George W. Casey, Jr.
Chief of Staff of the Army