The new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, seen from the air, with Wisconsin Avenue in front, still shows the original tower that Franklin Delano Roosevelt designed. But the growth around that tower has expanded to include portions of the old Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
Thank you very much, Admiral. I appreciate that very much and I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to be here at this one-year anniversary of bringing Bethesda-Walter Reed together. This was an amazing effort, not easy to do, but I commend all of you for your willingness to work together as a team and to make this a success.
I want to thank you for your leadership, because what you have here is a world-class center for healing, for compassion, and for empowerment. I am particularly honored today because, you know, in a holiday season, first and foremost I would like to wish all of you and your families and the entire Walter Reed community a safe and happy and healthy holiday season.
This is a season of renewal. It's a season of joy, of peace, and of looking to the future and being thankful for the past. And all of that is encompassed in these great medical centers because that's what it's all about, is giving people that second chance at life and that's what you do.
This is a time of year to reflect on all the blessings that have been bestowed on all of us as citizens of this great country, and in particular the blessings that we have to be members of the Department of Defense family. Someone asked me the other day, kind of, you know, reflecting on the job of Secretary of Defense what's the toughest part of this job and what's the most memorable part of this job?
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And for me, it comes down to the men and women who serve this country in uniform. The toughest part of this job is to have to take the time to write notes to the families of those who have lost loved ones in war. And it's tough because as the father of three sons, recognizing the pain that that family must feel at the loss of a loved one is something that leaves a deep impact on me. And the ability to kind of take the time to write a few words of comfort, and there are no words that you can find that can do justice to the pain that's involved here.
But for each one, I try to write a note that not only expresses, obviously, my sorrow, but also says that their loved one loved them, loved their family, loved this country, and gave their life for all they loved. And that makes them an American hero forever. Those are the toughest moments in this job. read more>>>