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Veterans Day Message from NASA Administrator
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. Photo credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls. Tomorrow, November 11th, our Nation will mark Veterans Day during a time in which thousands of American servicemen and women are in harm's way in Iraq and around the globe, protecting our freedom and defending our homeland. Within The NASA Family, 22 of our colleagues currently serve in active military units. Our debt to these heroes, and all those who heeded the call to duty in years past, is enormous.

Image left: NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. Photo credit: NASA

On Veterans Day, we honor our veterans' service and sacrifice. As today also marks the 229th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps, consider this story about a group of World War II veterans from the Regimental Weapons Company, 24th Marines, Fourth Marine Division, and how they were honored last Friday at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The reunion organizer, Norb Krass, is the father of Pam Adams, our KSC Protocol Officer. The tour Pam organized for her dad and his fellow veterans, who saw action in the battles for Saipan, Tinian, Roi-Namur and Iwo Jima, included a stop at Shuttle launch pad 39A.

At the gated entrance to the site, Pam explained to Officer Joey Fay, a Space Gateway Support employee, who these men were and why they were gathered. Joey then asked for the opportunity to board the bus and address the veterans. He proceeded to express his deep appreciation for being the beneficiary of the legacy that these men enabled. After stepping off the bus, Joey stood silently at attention, offering a heartfelt salute to each of these brave men. This simple gesture brought a great sense of pride and tears to the eyes of the touring veterans. It certainly reflected the sentiments of our NASA Family.

In addition to honoring the service of veterans and current military personnel, I am very pleased that NASA is working in partnership with the Veterans Administration to utilize cutting-edge technologies in the service of veterans' health care. Some of these technologies include a robotic courier capable of smoothly transporting pharmaceuticals, laboratory specimens, equipment supplies, meals, medical records and radiology films; an enhanced video headset that improves patients' field of vision; and software to design and fabricate orthopedic footwear. These technologies are providing enduring benefits to a group of people to whom we owe a great deal. We will continue to seek ways to employ our great skills to better the lives of our veterans and all of our citizens ... as only NASA can.

This Veterans Day, I hope that every member of The NASA Family finds the time to reflect on and salute the contributions of America's veterans. They are indeed the best among us.

Sean O'Keefe
NASA Administrator