June 27, 2002

To the 35th Anniversary Gathering of 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery Vietnam Veterans

Veterans, friends, and families of the 8th Battalion, 4th Artillery (Guns of the DMZ), I am honored to express my thanks and congratulations to you during this celebration of the 35th Anniversary of the deployment of your unit to I Corps, Republic of Vietnam.

All generations stand on the shoulders of those who have come before those who selflessly confronted challenges and created an environment in which those following could succeed and excel. In no profession is this more true than in that of the American military and of no people is it more true than of those who gather here to remember their service to our Nation.

You are members of a minority in your generation a minority who served this great country when called. As Soldiers, you went to war when others would not. You know men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their brothers-in-arms and paid dearly the price for others to enjoy America's freedoms.

As you enjoy your celebration, remember that America's Army stands ready with the best Soldiers and the best equipment in the world to protect the American way of life.

As our lineage recedes in the past, and as your children and grandchildren pick up the challenge to provide an even greater promise for the future, be proud that it was your unflinching dedication that has set the example. To you, and the men we honor who did not return, we are grateful for your selfless service.

God bless you, your families, and God bless the United States of America.

Eric K. Shinseki
General, United States Army