During Military Appreciation Month, we rightly join in expressing gratitude for our service members, their families and the daily sacrifices they make on our behalf. It is because of their selfless service that Americans wake up every day with the privilege of peace and freedom at home.
In answering the call to serve, members of our military choose to make tremendous sacrifices for their neighbors as well as those they have never even met. Our service members display an unwavering fervor for the bedrock principles that underlie the United States of America: freedom, justice and equality. Some will miss weddings, funerals or the births of their own children. Others will even pay the ultimate sacrifice.
The enormous sacrifices military families make for our country should never be overlooked. Even when service members are home, families often receive reassignment orders that require a quick move, leaving behind friends and family in the process. Husbands, wives and children go without their deployed spouses and parents for months at a time. Without question, families genuinely need support from their communities while their loved ones are abroad, when they return from war and especially if they do not come home at all.
As the son of a career Air Force veteran, I grew up seeing firsthand the sacrifices made by our military men and women. Today, it is an honor to represent the Fourth District of Oklahoma, which is home to two military installations as well as several National Guard facilities. I have always been heartened by the support shown by the communities surrounding Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City and Fort Sill Army Post in Lawton. I also applaud communities and businesses that continue to support the Oklahoma Guard and Reserve personnel who have been an integral part of our ongoing national security missions around the globe. Just as Americans in uniform understand the implications of their service, I recognize the ramifications of the domestic and foreign policy decisions made in Congress that impact them.
I remain supportive of legislation that prevents the erosion of compensation and quality-of-life benefits for our service members and veterans. That’s why I support military pay comparable with the private sector. Other components of compensation are equally essential to recruiting and retaining the all-volunteer force. Just last year, I supported historic legislation to address issues with Department of Veterans Affairs. There is always room to do more for those who have courageously served our country. I believe more funding is needed for programs that seek to combat the suicide epidemic among veterans, as well as programs that provide better access to specialized health care for female veterans.
The selfless men and women in our armed forces are truly among the best in our country. America would not remain a “shining city on a hill” without the soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guard personnel who bravely aid in the preservation of liberty and justice for all. During Military Appreciation Month, be sure to tell the service members and veterans in your community, “Thank you for your service.”