April 25, 2011

Victorious In War And Vigilant In Peace

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

Atop our nation's Capitol stands the Statue of Freedom.  According to the book "Where the People Speak," Thomas Crawford, the American sculptor who was commissioned in 1855 to design the statue, envisioned the Statue of Freedom as "a figure victorious in war and vigilant in peace."  Standing more than 19 feet tall, the Statue of Freedom is a reminder of American service members' sacrifice and steady commitment to secure our freedom.    

 

The stream of recent reports regarding those around the world struggling for freedom provides a vivid reminder of how blessed we are as Americans to have this constitutionally-established right.  Many men and women willingly stand up to protect and have sacrificed all for our right to freedom.  They know our freedom cannot be taken for granted.  We owe it to them to remain mindful that our nation is at war, and American service members persevere and sacrifice their lives so that Americans remain safe and our country's ideals are upheld. 

 

Brave Idahoans continue to serve our nation.  Just last month, more than 400 airmen from Mountain Home Air Force Base were deployed to Southwest Asia.  They join the many other American service members, including Idaho National Guard's 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team that was deployed to Iraq last fall, who are contributing bravely during our nation's time of need.  I have had the honor of visiting with our Armed Forces members from Idaho and elsewhere serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as those preparing for deployment.  Their courage and devotion to our country are inspirational.

 

While loved ones are deployed, their families are raising children, maintaining households and meeting their obligations without the daily support and direct help of the deployed.  The dedication and efforts of military spouses and family members contribute daily to the strength of our armed forces and country and deserve support.     

 

Bills are due regardless of paycheck timing, and military families working to make ends meet while their loved ones are deployed do not deserve the added pressure of uncertainty.  That is why I co-sponsored the Ensuring Pay for Our Military Act, S. 724, bipartisan legislation introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) that would make the necessary funds available to prevent any interruption in pay for active duty members of the military, as well as Coast Guard and Reserve components.  The agreement to fund government functions through the end of the year would also provide funding for military personnel.  As the federal budget is further addressed, I will continue to press for continuity for our brave service members and their families. 

 

The Statue of Freedom's placement at the highest point above the Capitol evokes the need to keep the preservation of freedom at the forefront of our efforts.  The attributes of our nation's service members and the families that support them could not be more emblematic of what the Statue of Freedom represents-"victorious in war and vigilant in peace."  They forgo so much to keep our nation safe and protect our freedom, and we cannot forget their continued and steady service and sacrifice.    

 

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