"Each person in public service has his or her own story and motives. But I believe, if you scratch deeply enough, you will find that those who serve – no matter how outwardly tough or jaded or egotistical – are, in their heart of hearts, romantics and idealists. And optimists. We actually believe we can make a difference, that we can make the lives of others better, that we can make a positive difference in the life of this country and the world."
Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates University of Washington Commencement Seattle, Washington Saturday, June 13, 2009