Congressmen Praise Guard, Reserve at Pentagon Ceremony
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Mar. 8, 2002 Two U.S. congressmen praised the contributions of National Guardsmen and reservists in the war against terrorism March 7 during a ceremony at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.
Reps. Randy Forbes of Virginia and Mark Kennedy of Minnesota presented Craig W. Duehring, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, with a copy of House Resolution 287, which supports the Guard and Reserve. Forbes and Kennedy, Duehring noted, are members of the Guard and Reserve National Caucus.
Forbes said he wanted to pass along a message to America's Guardsmen and reservists from the people he has met during his travels.
"Mark and I wanted to work on this resolution, because every place that I go, people have so much that they wanted to say to you, but it all kind of comes together in one encapsulated phrase ...: 'Thank you, from a grateful country,'" he said.
The resolution states, in part:
"Whereas these National Guard and Reserve citizen-soldiers have selflessly performed their duties during the weeks since the terrorist attacks, sacrificing time at their civilian jobs and with their families during the period of their active duty; and
"Whereas these National Guard and Reserve citizen-soldiers serve a critical role as part of the mission of the Armed Forces to protect the freedom of United States citizens and the American ideals of justice, liberty, and freedom, both at home and abroad;
"Now, therefore, be it resolved, that the House of Representatives:
"1. Honors the continuing service and commitment of the members of the National Guard and Reserve units activated in support of Operation Enduring Freedom;
"2. Honors the sacrifices made by the families and employers of the members of those units during their time away from home;
"3. Recognizes the critical importance of the National Guard and Reserve to the security of the United States; and
"4. Supports providing the necessary resources to ensure the continued readiness of the National Guard and Reserve."
More than 78,000 Guard and Reserve members have been called up to support Operation Enduring Freedom overseas and Operation Noble Eagle homeland security efforts in the states.
America's citizen-soldiers are called upon to leave home and community "to go off to defend freedom for their country," Kennedy said. "They really help to bring the commitment that you see in all of our forces home to us in our communities and really help to bind the country together."
Forbes noted that just before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, he and other legislators were brainstorming how to raise public awareness of national defense issues.
Today, "America recognizes just how important the defense of this great country is," he concluded.