The goal of the United States' armed forces is to protect our people and our nation. We seek peace with honor.
If, however, war is thrust upon us, our goal is to secure victory and then to restore peace as quickly as possible.
That is why, each year, we honor those who have served in our military forces. Chattanooga, surely one of the most patriotic communities in our country, yesterday held its 62nd annual Armed Forces Day parade. (Armed Forces Day officially falls on May 21, but our earlier celebration allowed more schools to get involved.)
After the parade, viewed by enthusiastic crowds, more than 300 people gathered at the Chattanooga Convention Center to hear retired Marine Maj. Gen. Kevin B. Kuklok, from Loudon, Tenn., honor past and present members of our armed services.
Kuklok pointed out that "As long as wars have been going on through recorded history, each society has had to deal with the casualties of war."
Special recognition was given to Marine Lance Cpl. Levi Cunningham, who was wounded in Afghanistan by an improvised explosive device, or IED, and now is rehabilitating.
We honor all of our servicemen and women, past and present, and thank them for their selfless work. As long as we have citizens like these, our land will remain free for us all.