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Public Statements

Honoring The 81st Brigade Combat Team Of The Washington Army National Guard

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BAIRD. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this resolution and, most importantly, in strong support of the men and women of the 81st Brigade and of our entire National Guard, not only in Washington State but across the Nation.

These brave men and women have served our country multiple times, as my colleagues have said, not just in times of war but in times of peace. We have had catastrophic flooding in my district a number of times, and the National Guard has always been there to respond to that call. It has been my great privilege to join our National Guard during their training in Yakima, during deployment ceremonies here Stateside, at Camp McCoy, then again in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and back home.

I will tell you, as we all know, they make us proud every single day. They are truly the finest that America has to offer, and it is their example of courage, professionalism, integrity, and compassion more than anything else, in addition to their combat and civilian skills, which help them successfully complete their mission at home.

I want to particularly congratulate General Timothy Lowenberg, who has been an outstanding leader of the Guard, again during both war and peacetime; Colonel Sabatini, whom I met with this last week on a homecoming visit with the troops; and Daniel Kern, who served in Afghanistan while many of the other Guardsmen were in Iraq.

Particularly, I want to thank the families. As Congressman Smith mentioned, the families serve as well. While their loved ones are overseas and are in harm's way, it is the families back home--the moms and dads, the brothers and sisters, and the children--who keep the home fires burning, and we must not forget them.

In knowing the fact that our unit is back home, we must keep in our hearts all those who are still deployed and who have been deployed.

I also want to mention the employers. Employer support of the Guard and Reserves is an incredibly important organization. They make sure that, when our men and women are deployed overseas, they have a chance to come home and resume their employment. Also, there are the educators who are helping people. There are our community colleges and universities and our vocational and technical education schools, which are helping retrain our soldiers when they come home.

Most importantly, I think it's essential that we acknowledge that Iraq is a better place because of the service of these men and women. Afghanistan is a better place. Our country is a better place, and we are grateful, and we cannot express in words our profound respect and gratitude.

I thank the gentleman for introducing the resolution.

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