May 16, 1981

Today is Armed Forces Day, and on behalf of millions of Americans I want to send to our men and women in uniform a personal message of thanks and gratitude.

Today their job is vitally important -- their sacrifice and patriotism makes it possible for those of us who are civilians to go about our everyday lives. Their commitment keeps our nation strong and our future free.

You know, James Michener writes in one of his novels about a commanding officer who thinks about the self-sacrifice of those who served under him and wonders ``where do we get such men?''

Today millions of Americans are asking themselves that same question about the dedicated men and women who serve in our Armed Forces. Like me, they're asking that question with gratitude, with respect and affection in their hearts. Today, I want all those wearing American uniforms around the globe to know: America is grateful to you -- and proud of you, too.

Note: The statement was released by the Office of the Press Secretary on May 15.