Holiday season message highlights importance of life

WASHINGTON -- As the holiday season and another year approach, let us take time to consider what is really important – family and friends.

During this time of year, we tend to hold our families a little closer, realizing that what we take for granted can change in an instant. We need to remember our friends who have endured great sacrifices or those who have suffered great loss on the Gulf Coast.

It is your realization of what is important, coupled with your dedication to duty, that enables you to serve our great nation so well. You know the price of freedom and you are willing to pay it. I salute those who have deployed in harm’s way and supported the Global War on Terrorism, as well as those who have worked so hard to assist with hurricane rescue and relief.

As in the past, we face new challenges in 2006 – aircraft conversions, participation in air and space expeditionary force deployments and mission changes to name a few. I am confident you will once again do our country proud.

Jan and I wish you and yours happy holidays and a safe, joyous New Year. We are proud of you and what you do for America.

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