Sec. Bob McDonald visits Phoenix and Las Vegas VAMCThis holiday season, VA salutes the valor of our nation’s men and women—past and present—who sacrificed so much to preserve our liberty.  And we are grateful for the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines deployed around the world, advancing the cause of peace and protecting the freedoms we treasure.

Two of those important freedoms are the rights to gather together with family and friends and worship as we see fit during the holidays.  Whether we celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza or any other religious or secular events during this special time of year, our freedom to do so has been safeguarded by those who have worn our country’s uniforms.

This season of peace is also a time of remembrance.  On Christmas Eve 1944, Private Burnett Miller was stationed in France. Private Miller wrote to his mother, “It’s the evening before Christmas, but it’s quite hard to realize this. I’ll just sort of skip this year and we’ll all celebrate twice as much next year.”  Less than a week later, he saw combat for the first time southwest of Bastogne.

Private Miller’s simple words and sentiments resonate with the joy we find among family and friends during this special time of year.  And they remind us of the experiences of innumerable Veterans who have spent holidays far away, doing their duty, focused on the mission, and celebrating in quiet, humble ways with their comrades.

As we count our many blessings, let us remember Veterans like Private Miller and their families.  And we also offer our thoughts and prayers to our wounded warriors, their families and the families of the fallen who never made it home for holiday celebrations.  We honor them all.

On behalf of our 22 million Veterans and our 350,000 VA employees who are privileged to serve them, I offer my warmest wishes for a joyous holiday season and peace in the New Year.  May God bless you and your families, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.

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Robert A. McDonald

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Published on Dec. 22, 2015

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  1. Scott December 29, 2015 at 12:44 am

    When I think of those that served in France (including my grandfather) from the day of the invasion until reaching Germany, I feel my cold war service is equal to about 1/1000 of their service. To those that never came home, may they rest in peace forever.

  2. Keith m Wilson December 28, 2015 at 1:30 pm

    3 . The help SO. MUCH !!!!!!!

  3. adrian December 27, 2015 at 2:00 am

    Thanks to all the dedicated employees many of whom are Veterans themselves at the VA..May God bless them and their families…

  4. Marshall Morris December 26, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    10 pm 26 DEC 15
    Thanks Mr. Secretary for putting the “V” for Valor.. and PEACE back into the VA… I AM proud to be a V eteran… “Doc” Marshall Morris. RVN 1968 -1969..

  5. December 25, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Thank you Mr. McDonald.

  6. Robert Wagner December 25, 2015 at 8:15 am

    Thank you for your leadership Mr. Secretary! I would ask that you also remember those members of the U.S. Coast Guard that are also deployed around the world, including the Middle East, this time of year.

    Merry Christmas!

  7. David m Fontaine December 25, 2015 at 2:37 am

    To all the veterans that was station in kitzingen germany at Harvey barracks in 1977-79 wish a warm and peaceful christmas and new year . god bless you and your family’s for being part of history of the final years of the Cold War …… David m Fontaine us army 1975-79

  8. Ernest delgado December 24, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Will we vets get an increase in compensation for 2016 or has congress failed to do that all they think about is cut , protect their status and pay for themselves thank you for serving us and continued protection of our benefits the long beach VA hospital is the best as far as I’m concerned! Thank you

  9. Wilson Perez Jr. December 24, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    First and most of of all ,thank you for everything you did in order for me to get my benefits,I’m now 100% plus Service connected(I appealed the effective date 240days now,eh) I want to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Glorious New Year.You are making a big difference in many forgotten lives.

  10. Wilson Perez Jr. December 24, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    First of all thanks for your help in getting my benefits,I’m now 100% plus service connected and I’m awaiting an appeal on my effective date(appox.240 days) but it has totally changed my life and I now try to guide other Vets to get their benefits.It’s nice to have someone who cares up on top.May you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a Glorious Happy New Year!!!!

  11. thomas gomez sr December 22, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    we know you care about us. thank you . and merry xmas.

  12. John P. Smeekens December 22, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Mr. McDonald, Thank You. Being a 100% disabled Vietnam Veteran I understood what Mr. Miller was saying. To you Mr. McDonald, your Family both personal and at the VA, have a Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, but most of all a Safe Holiday Season. God Bless Everyone, and watch over our Troops!!!

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