In 2003, my wife, Janet, and I spent a week visiting a friend who, at the time, was assigned to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany and was helping transport wounded soldiers and marines from Iraq. During our time there, we met with a chaplain at the nearby U.S. Army Medical Center at Landsthul. The chaplain arranged for us to meet with two soldiers who, within the past 24 hours, had been severely injured by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and were awaiting further surgery. We prayed for their speedy recovery and hopefully brought some encouragement and comfort to them. I will never forget our brief meeting with them, their injuries, their bravery and their courage.
As citizens of the United States, we enjoy individual freedoms like no one else in the world. We are indeed privileged to live in this great country. Americans sacrificed their lives and fortunes to gain these freedoms over 235 years ago, and we have continued to make sacrifices over the years since that time to maintain these freedoms. Unfortunately, there are those who will stop at nothing to deny us those freedoms and we must be vigilant to protect ourselves from them.
I will be an advocate to maintain a strong national defense, to protect our country from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. This means we must maintain a superior military force, not only providing them with the training and equipment they need, but taking care of their families while they are gone. And when these brave warriors come home after serving their country, we are obligated to take care of them and their injuries, both physical and mental, for the rest of their lives. They answered the call to duty, and it is our duty as Americans to take care of our veterans.
I will also insure that the first responders in our communities, our law enforcement officers, firefighters and medical personnel, are provided with the training and equipment they need to detect, prevent and if necessary, respond to acts of domestic terrorism. As we know, freedom is not free, and we must never let our guard down. To maintain a strong national defense, we need to make a long term commitment to our military personnel and their families, and to our first responders. And this long term commitment will only come with leadership, not politics.