By Assemblyman Will Barclay (R,C,I—Pulaski)
The organization called Thank a Service Member gave a ceremonial send-off to soldiers from the 444th Engineer Company of Oswego as they prepared to deploy to Afghanistan last week. Thank a Service Member formed, as the name suggests, to simply thank soldiers for serving our great country.
This ceremony enabled friends, families and the greater community to come together and wish these soldiers well before they departed for their year-long deployment. I would like to thank these reservists for their continued dedication, bravery and service to our nation. It’s often said that “Freedom isn’t free,” and this truly is the case. Without the commitment and sacrifice of the brave men and women preparing for deployment, the triumphs and continued freedom of this great nation would never have been achieved.
Due to their heroism, we can breathe easier, secure in the knowledge that our liberties and those of the people they are protecting are being preserved by the best and the brightest our nation has to offer.
I was reminded again that it is more than just those being deployed who are sacrificing for their nation. Husbands and wives, parents and children are forced apart for lengthy periods of time. The emotional sacrifice made by the separation of spouses and families is one that can never be overstated. The ability to support and love from a distance helps make their service possible.
The community also provides a vibrant home for our servicemen and women and their families. Your support, whether it is care packages, lending a helping hand to the families of our armed forces or greeting our troops when they return home, shows that their sacrifices are truly understood and appreciated.
I also cannot express my gratitude enough for the organization Thank a Service Member. Each soldier was presented with a special coin, which commemorates their service to their country.
Family members were presented with yellow carnations, symbolizing devotion.
They organize speakers, provide a venue and represent the rest of us as we say something meaningful, simple, and important: Thank you.
By the looks on some of their faces at these important events and by listening to some of them talk, I know the soldiers too appreciate this organization and all that local executive director Peter Allen does.
Public education and community involvement are paramount to Thank a Service Member. They educate the public on everything from showing respect for the U.S. Flag to critical issues affecting veterans of all ages. They are involved with raising money for scholarships for children of military veterans, charitable outreach and veterans reintegration and employment–helping to provide a bridge for veterans when they return.
These reservists are called up from all walks of life and professions. But last week they were all called to action and are headed for Afghanistan. Without their dedication, the United States would be incapable of defending itself against those who seek to destroy it. We know their mission is not a simple one, but I hope they know the community is with them in spirit.
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