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ICYMI: Read Mattis' Full Christmas Message to the DOD

In a letter to the Department of Defense, Secretary of Defense James Mattis reiterated to the troops who were deployed during the holiday season the importance of their work, along with recognizing their sacrifice.


He also recorded a portion of his message the day before he gave President Donald Trump his letter of resignation due to differences in foreign policy decisions, like withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria.

Being the type of person to walk the walk, Mattis was working in his Pentagon office on Christmas Day, keeping true to the motto of the Marine Corps that he had served in for over 40 years, Semper fidelis, or “Always faithful.”

Here is the full text of Mattis’ final holiday message to the DOD:

  1. We in the U.S. military are privileged to defend America, especially at this time of year, for we ensure our fellow Americans celebrate this season of hope in peace and safety.
  2. We know our freedoms are not guaranteed by themselves; they need defenders.
  3. This month, many in our military will be serving far from their loved ones. It is difficult work, but this is nothing new: Since Washington crossed the Delaware on Christmas Day in 1776, American troops have missed holidays to defend our citizens’ experiment in democracy.
  4. To those in the field or at sea, “keep watch by night” this holiday season, you should recognize that you carry on the proud legacy of those who stood the watch decades in the past. In this world awash in change, you hold the line.
  5. Storm clouds loom, yet because of you your fellow citizens live safe at home. Most don’t know your names but are all confident their freedoms and families will be kept safe.
  6. Far from home, you have earned the gratitude and respect of your fellow citizens and it remains my great privilege to serve alongside you.
  7. Merry Christmas and may God hold you safe.

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