Recent Op-Eds

In recent months, Congress has focused primarily on the health care reform debate and the discussion of how to create conditions for economic growth and job creation. While these issues front and center in the news, it is important for policy makers in Washington as well as citizens in South Dakota to remember that there are events and issues of great importance happening around the world. I think our state can be proud to know that South Dakotans are currently stationed in dangerous places defending our nation, and I believe these men and women deserve our prayers and support.

In February, I had the honor of meeting 228 members of the 175th Fighter Squadron at Joe Foss Field in Sioux Falls. These men and women returned home from Iraq, where they had spend the past several months flying missions and providing support to the allied forces continuing to support the democratic government in that country. They spent the holidays away from their families back in the United States, who are no doubt relieved to have them safely home.

South Dakotans from communities across our state have answered the call to service, from our state’s earliest days to the struggles of the present day. Many of those currently serving do so in the National Guard. This means they must balance their service overseas with their lives and their families in South Dakota. The difficulty of this cannot be overstated, but neither can the importance of the work that they are doing.

Whenever I meet the families of those who serve in dangerous places I am impressed by their resilience. Caring for children, running family businesses, and attending to daily tasks are challenging enough for many families, but doing all of those things under the shadow of a loved one being in danger is all the more difficult. These families have my deepest admiration and gratitude.

The hard work of American men and women in harm’s way allows us to freely debate issues like health care and economic growth. Without the sacrifices of our armed forces members, these issues quickly lose their importance. I ask all South Dakotans to join me in remembering and praying for our neighbors and friends who are currently in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other dangerous places around the globe. I also hope that you join me in celebrating the safe return of the 175th Fighter Squadron, and the safe homecoming of all our friends in the future.