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Message from Director Petraeus: Veterans Day

Statement to Employees by Director of the Central Intelligence Agency David H. Petraeus on Veterans Day

November 10, 2011


For much of the past decade, I have had the unique privilege of observing America’s sons and daughters performing tough missions in tough places—in the Balkans, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and throughout the Middle East. No matter how much our country asked of them, they delivered—with the selfless dedication and quiet courage that have long been hallmarks of America’s men and women in uniform.

As CIA Director, I’ve seen that same spirit of commitment and resolve among our Agency’s officers, at least a tenth of whom are veterans of the Armed Forces. CIA officers were, moreover, the first Americans in Afghanistan after 9/11, and many of you have served alongside our men and women in uniform during the course of the long, hard campaign of the past ten years.

Tomorrow, our nation will take time to recognize the sacrifices that duty has demanded of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. And though we can never thank them enough, we can certainly show America’s veterans just how deeply we appreciate their service.

I will have the honor of participating in the New York City Veterans Day Parade, our country’s largest tribute to veterans of all eras and service branches. And, as we walk down Fifth Avenue, I’ll be thinking of a fellow New Yorker who marched down that very thoroughfare 92 years ago after earning the Medal of Honor and many other decorations for valor in the First World War. He helped found the American Legion and, through his strong, spirited advocacy, the Central Intelligence Agency. General William Donovan was one of our nation’s greatest soldiers and spymasters. For him, however, there was no greater privilege than that of having faithfully served alongside his fellow troopers. When he took leave of his regiment, New York’s Fighting 69th, he said:

There can be no keener regret than the parting of men who have fought together in a common cause and where friendship has been sealed by the blood of comrades. Throughout this war, sustained by the trust of its people at home, inspired by the ancient tradition, this regiment has carried the fight to the foe without faltering.

On Veterans Day 2011, we pay tribute to all who have carried the fight to America’s adversaries and who have shared that sacred bond of service and sacrifice. Having courageously secured our country’s freedom and advanced its interests in the world, they have earned our deepest gratitude—as have those who have served alongside them.

Historical Document
Posted: Nov 10, 2011 10:23 AM
Last Updated: Apr 29, 2013 01:33 PM