Each year during Public Service Recognition Week, we honor the men and women who serve our nation as federal, state, county and local government employees. It's an important opportunity to reflect on the many benefits we enjoy as a result of their work at all levels of government.
In this year's PSRW Letter of Recognition, my fellow Cabinet Secretaries and I invoked the oath that all Federal employees take: "I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States."
Wherever we come from and wherever we serve, these words unite those of us in Federal service, from ambassadors to air traffic controllers. And in fulfilling this oath, public servants work hard--many of them tirelessly--applying a tremendous amount of training and expertise to confront and overcome challenges on behalf of the American people.
As I prepare to leave the Department of Transportation, this year's Public Service Recognition Week is a somewhat bittersweet celebration.
Sweet because, as I said last week when President Obama introduced his nominee Mayor Anthony Foxx, the next Secretary of Transportation will inherit some of the smartest, brightest people in transportation and in public service.
And poignant because these men and women have been so terrific that they make it hard to depart from DOT. It has been an honor to serve as their Secretary.
However, I want readers to know that the commitment to service I've witnessed at DOT these past four years is not in scarce supply across our Federal government. I've had the privilege of being in public service for many years, and I have seen the good work of our public servants.
And, although you may not have realized it at the time, you've seen their good work, too.
In addition to ensuring that America's transportation system is safe, Federal employees protect our food supply, foil terrorist attacks, care for wounded veterans, and make sure the elderly and those with disabilities get their Medicare and Social Security benefits.
Those duties--and the many other important duties performed by Federal employees--add up to the kind of public service that deserves to be recognized.
I'm honored to celebrate America's public servants this week, and I hope you'll join me in thanking them for their work.