To honor today’s units of the Pennsylvania National Guard for their bravery and sacrifice, Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair Lisa Baker (R-20) today offered a Senate Resolution designating March 10, 2009, as “National Guard Day” in Pennsylvania.
During remarks on the Senate floor, Baker joined Adjutant General Jessica Wright in calling on all Pennsylvanians to recognize the contributions of Pennsylvania’s National Guard – the largest national guard in the United States.
“There is something exceptional about the Pennsylvania National Guard,” Baker said. “Theirs is a proud history, going where they are called, when they are called, whether thrown into combat zones, or into cleaning up after natural or man-made disasters.”
Baker also recognized the service of Major General Jessica Wright – the first woman to hold the important post of Adjutant General of Pennsylvania.
“General Wright has attained an impressive record of accomplishments, earned the respect of her fellow soldiers, and served Pennsylvania’s veterans community with distinction,” Baker said.
She added that guard units have taken part in every conflict America has faced, from the Revolutionary War through Operation Iraqi Freedom, and have been involved in ongoing peacekeeping missions across the globe. Since September 11, 2001, more than 17,000 soldiers and airmen have been deployed in support of the Global War on Terror.
“Today, Pennsylvania’s National Guard units are highly trained, heavily deployed, and hugely courageous,” Baker said. “They are fully aware of the risks and the sacrifices involved. These citizen soldiers make hard choices – to leave behind spouses, children, parents, jobs, the comforts of home – to protect us and to defend the principles of democracy.”
Baker said such a record does not come without cost. Since 9/11, the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have claimed 43 guardsmen and women in duty.
“We remember and memorialize these individuals. Our hearts go out to those they leave behind, the families who loved them, and the soldiers who served alongside them. We acknowledge too, our obligation to those who suffer grievous injury in our service,” Baker said. “Today, tomorrow, and every day, we honor the Pennsylvania National Guard for their service, we give thanks for their quality and character, and we pray for their safety.
Contact: Jennifer Wilson