House of Representatives Thanks Nation's Troops
By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 27, 2002 It's not often that the entire House of Representatives agrees on one thing. Yet they all agree that the men and women of America's armed forces deserve the nation's thanks.
Rep. Ike Skelton (from left), Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz and Rep. Bob Stump pose for photographs in front of a series of poster boards that make up a "Thank You" card to America's men and women in uniform. The two congressmen presented the card to Wolfowitz June 27, 2002, at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington. Photo by Linda D. Kozaryn.
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Recently, House members signed a "Thank You" card addressed to America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen. It consisted of 15 large poster boards with signature lines for each member of the House.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Stump of Arizona and ranking member Rep. Ike Skelton of Missouri today presented the card to Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz at the Rayburn House Office Building. Stump said the boards were signed by almost every member of Congress.
"This is an intent to show our appreciation to all the men and women in uniform," Stump told Wolfowitz. "We have these 'Thank You' boards we'd like to present you to take to the Pentagon and see that they get distributed in a proper way to our men and women in uniform. If they see them, they'll realize how much we appreciate them."
Wolfowitz accepted the thanks on behalf of the men and women of the armed forces. He said nothing inspires the troops' bravery more than the sense that they're fighting for their country.
"It makes a huge difference to know their country appreciates them," he told the congressmen.
Defense Department officials sent the card to Capitol Hill in May for signatures as part of National Military Appreciation Month. A virtual card for the public to sign was posted on DefendAmerica.gov, a Defense Department Web site devoted to news about the war against terrorism.
Wolfowitz noted that the names of site visitors who had signed the note were put together into a bound volume. The book of about 50,000 names was one item in a "dedication capsule" sealed June 11 behind the last limestone panel placed into the once-destroyed section of the Pentagon exterior.
The "Thank You" card is still available to the public at www.DefendAmerica.gov and www.DefendAmerica.mil. About 100,000 more visitors have signed the note since early June. Defense officials plan to add the representatives' names to an updated list of card signers.
"Any of your constituents who want to sign up, the Web site is still there," the deputy told the congress members. "We're going to challenge people to get as many names on it as possible before Sept. 11."
"This represents a tremendous outpouring from members of the House in support of our men and women in uniform who put themselves in harm's way in various parts of the world," said Powell Moore, assistant defense secretary for legislative affairs after the presentation. "As the secretary said, there's nothing that inspires men and women in uniform more than to know that the country is behind them."