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Johnson Helps Dedicate Armed Forces Retirement Home

As prepared for delivery

Remarks by
Martha N. Johnson
Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Armed Forces Retirement Home Dedication
Gulfport, Miss.
November 9, 2010 

Thank you for that kind introduction.

I’m honored to be here with you today at this beautiful Armed Forces Retirement Home. 

It is fitting that this is the week of our national Veterans Day. This Thursday, we honor the service of the more than 24 million Americans who have defended and protected our freedom and way of life.

It is a week to hear and share their stories and to take a collective moment to hold up those brave men and women.

This is an especially meaningful opportunity for me. Like so many families, mine has a history of military service.

My father served in the Navy during World War II. One uncle was a Navy chaplain during that war and another entered Nagasaki, Japan, with Adm. Richard Byrd, a week after the bomb, and subsequently died of cancer. Another was awarded a Purple Heart in Korea. And, my aunt was a member of the Women's Army Corps, who was very proud to have carried the American flag at the opening ceremonies of the United Nations in San Francisco.

These are the kinds of stories and memories that unite families and unite a country. We are privileged to have such a legacy to guide us forward. They deserve our sincerest thanks. 

Standing at this new facility, I am proud to lead the General Services Administration, an agency that is fully committed to using our acquisition, design, and construction expertise to serve today’s veterans, and tomorrow’s, as befits their service to our nation. 

This project has been a unique one for us, challenging us to put together buildings with a range of services, and to weave together local, small business, and veterans contractors in such a task.

I am proud that, in these difficult economic times, this project provided jobs for hundreds of design and construction workers, doubled our target for small-business contracting. In addition, it will employ nearly 200 staff members. 

I know that those who built this facility have been pleased that they could give back to our armed forces personnel, offering a way to say “thank you” for their contributions to our country.

I can think of few better ways to honor the service of the veterans who live and will live here than to provide them with these beautiful, functional, well-designed, new buildings overlooking this tremendous vista. 

For veterans who served their country often in the crucible of war, it is only fitting that we now serve them with a peaceful, healthy, and safe sanctuary. 

In the coming days, I hope that you will reflect on the selfless service of our veterans, and, if you have served, know that you have the thanks of a grateful nation.