This year marks the 50th anniversary of Veterans Day - one of the most celebrated of U.S. national holidays. With the War Against Terrorism continuing for the unforeseeable future, along with the end of a bitter political campaign for the presidency, Veterans Day 2004 is especially a defining moment in our nation’s history.

Here is a special message on this day from Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:

This Veterans Day, we pause to honor and thank our veterans, past and present - those who have served and those who are serving today around the world, advancing freedom and the cause of liberty.

Since the colonial Minutemen first stood shoulder-to-shoulder, countless Americans have answered our nation's call to serve and defend liberty. They are true heroes. In the past century alone, they fixed bayonets at the Battle of the Marne, they stormed the beaches at Normandy and Omaha, assaulted Heartbreak Ridge, patrolled the la Drang Valley and stared down our adversaries on the plains of Europe. They stood as shining examples of ordinary citizens doing the extraordinary to defend a grateful nation.

Like those who wore the uniform before them, today's armed forces continue this proud legacy. At this very moment, American service men and women - active and Reserve - from every walk of life and from every ethnic, religious and racial background, serve in harm's way. From the mountains in Afghanistan to the sands of Iraq, from the jungles of Colombia to the shores of the Philippines, they are giving hope to millions that liberty, justice and a lasting peace are within their reach.

Today, the proud men and women of our armed forces are once again engaged in a global struggle against those who threaten our way of life. At every turn, they demonstrate our firm resolve and serve notice to terrorists that we will succeed. We are proud of their commitment, dedication and accomplishments.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff and I thank our veterans for their selfless service and for ensuring the continued security of our nation.

May God bless you and God bless America.

The VA has an excellent web site for this special day which you will find at