Senator Lankford Honors Military Members and Families on Senate Floor
CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s floor speech.
WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today spoke on the Senate floor to honor the women and men serving in the US military and their families during Military Appreciation Month. Lankford took a moment to thank the Gold Star Families—families who have lost a loved one in military service—during the speech.
Lankford introduced legislation this month that will expand the eligibility for the Fry Scholarship to spouses and children of members of the National Guard and Reserves who died of service-connected causes but whose deaths did not occur when the member was on active duty. Lankford also introduced the Reserve Component DD-214 Act of 2019, which is a bipartisan effort to help reserve component members of the US Armed Forces, including members of the Reserves and National Guard, receive the benefits they have earned following their retirement or completion of service.
Mr. President, the month of May is Military Appreciation Month. It’s a time when we, as a country, we come together, we pause, we recognize the sacrifice of those who have raised their right hand, worn the cloth of our country, and they continue to serve the world’s greatest military day-in and day-out. They have exceptionally long days, difficult tasks. Sometimes they fight the fight of boredom and hanging out and guarding a spot, and sometimes they are in an exceptionally stressful full-on combat mode. They’re prepared for both.
Throughout the month of May, there are actually six different days of observation to honor our nation’s military and their families who sacrifice so much: Loyalty Day, Public Service Recognition Week, Victory in Europe Day (VE Day), Military Spouse Appreciation Day, Armed Forces Day, and, of course, at the end of the month of May, a pause for Memorial Day. All of these observances within one month, May. It’s a clear sign that our military is one of the most important cornerstones of our country and their sacrifice is unmatched, and so it should be honored and celebrated. In addition to our service members and veterans, I hope that all Americans also recognize the service of their family members: husband, wife, son, daughter, mom, and dad. They are wearing the uniform, and they can be gone months at a time on multiple deployments.
I had the opportunity to be able to meet with many family members in Oklahoma, that their spouse, mom, dad, son, daughter have been deployed multiple times in several different theaters, and while they are forward deployed, their family waits. And it’s a long, difficult wait. It’s tough on the family, for those that serve in our National Guard, it’s tough on employers, it’s tough on their personal finances, and it’s a stressful environment. For those folks that have done it and continue to serve, that one percent of our nation that defends the other 99 percent of our nation, we could not be more grateful for them and for their family members.
And to our Gold Star Families, those who were left behind to continue the legacy of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we thank you for your service and for your love of country. It’s our duty as a nation to continue to support our Gold Star Families, to be able to encourage them, check on them, live life with them.
Just last week I introduced legislation with Senator Carper to expand certain educational benefits to the survivors of Guardsmen and Reservists who have died as a result of their service. This is part of the least we can do as a nation to be able to walk alongside those Gold Star Families.
Over 33,000 active duty guard, reserve, and active duty personnel are currently assigned in Oklahoma and have Oklahomans serving our country and protecting our interests literally all over the world right now. We’re home to Altus Air Force Base, Tinker Air Force Base, Vance Air Force Base, Fort Sill Fire’s Center of Excellence, and McAlester Army Ammunition Plant, as well as countless different National Guard lotions all around the state. We train and equip our soldiers, airmen, sailors, and marines. And I’m proud of the Oklahomans that wear that uniform.
As we continue this Military Appreciation Month, I hope all Americans take the time to remember that 24 hours a day, seven days a week, whether you are awake or asleep, someone is on guard watching our nation right now. Someone is defending our freedoms right now—whether you are hearing about Military Appreciation Month while you’re at work, while you’re at play, while you’re at rest, someone is not resting right now—they are defending your freedoms, and we are grateful.