Senator John Thune
The National Guard and Reserve makes up almost half of the United States' military forces. Guard and Reserve servicemen and women continue to take on increased responsibilities to protect our nation. These soldiers are bravely serving their country for extended, multiple tours of duty in conflicts across the world, including Iraq and Afghanistan.
In addition to protecting our nation from enemies oversees, South Dakota Guard units also help ensure our safety at home. Just this past summer, Guard units were called on to build levies and safeguard homes from the historic Missouri River flood. Hundreds of Guard members helped to protect citizens and their property from the disastrous flooding.
In addition to sacrificing their physical safety for our country, these service members sacrifice time away from their families and friends, as well as their civilian employment. Balancing military and civilian commitments often presents challenges that most of us do not have to face.
Fortunately, many employers of Guard and Reserve members throughout our state help these employees and their families with the difficult circumstances they cope with while being deployed. Balancing civilian work with their service in the Guard and Reserve can put stress on entire families, but with the support and flexibility of these South Dakota employers, servicemen and women's loads are often lightened.
September 18th-24th was officially designated as the 2011 National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week. This week is an opportunity for all of us to pause and recognize the important role that these employers play in our nation's security and success. The support these employers provide serves as an example of true commitment and dedication to our country.
I extend my deep appreciation to all of South Dakota's Reserve and Guard members, their families, and their civilian employers. Thank you for your commitment to the success of South Dakota and our nation. May God continue to bless the United States of America.