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SECURING AMERICA, STRENGTHENING ISRAEL

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“Every Soldier Has A Story”

Remarks for the JINSA Grateful Nation Award Event by Mrs. Birgit Smith

November 12, 2005 - Washington, DC.

I want to thank the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs for allowing my request to share a few words with you tonight. I wanted to do it because I felt it was important for you to hear first-hand from an Army wife, and widow, about how thankful I am for our men and women in uniform. There is no shortage of negative stories on TV about the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. But what the media forget to tell you is that those stories are the exception and that there are great stories going untold about the progress and accomplishments our service members are participating in every single day to change the lives for the people of those countries.

Mrs. Birgit Smith with Gen. Pace.Mrs. Birgit Smith with Gen. Pace.

I want the world to know that we, the families, and fellow Americans, continue to support them in their courageous efforts to bring about democracy to people that have suffered under choking tyranny. I feel very strongly that somehow we have to break this cycle of not getting their real stories out. I can only imagine there must be thousands of incredible stories of bravery, courage, selfless sacrifice, loyalty, friendship, kindness and hope for every unpleasant one we hear.

I have an idea I'd like to share with you. At the Pentagon last month, following a very emotional day at the White House to accept Paul's Medal of Honor, I made a comment that bears repeating and that I hope you will remember, share and encourage others to do the same.

I said that day "that every Soldier has a story" and because of the Medal of Honor, Paul's story would forever be remembered. But most of those stories are not being heard. And if they were being heard, the American people and the world could truly better understand the sacrifices of Paul and others like him, one Soldier story at a time. So, I encourage you to ask for that Soldier story when you meet one, to demand it from your media, to listen and share it with others. For if you do, the world would finally understand this noble calling our service members answer and you too would be humbled by their selflessness and quiet greatness.

Thank you for your support and this honor for Paul. He was such a great dad, a husband, son and a Soldier. Paul loved his country, he loved the Army and he loved his Soldiers.

Thank you and God Bless.

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