Friday, May 19, 2006

Tomorrow the ODP Veterans and Military Families Committee will participate in the annual Shriners and Armed Forces Day Parade in Del City. My thanks go to our committee chairman Ron Wasson and HD 45 candidate Troy Green for organizing our entry.

We have invited other Oklahoma Democrats to join with us in this salute to our troops and their families.

As chairman I established this ad hoc committee last year to begin addressing some of the issues we face as a party and as Oklahomans related to Bush's war in Iraq and the treatment of our veterans and their families. (This is a personal issue for me, my son was re-deployed to Iraq on the day I was elected chairman. I am happy to report that he returned home safely last weekend, in time for Mother's Day! What a joyous day for our family. Sadly, two other Oklahoma families did not have the same feelings as they buried their sons this week. My sincere sympathies to them and my deepest respect for their sons' service.)

The committee has members from every military branch who represent service in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan. We meet monthly and I'm certain you will be hearing more from this fine group of Democrats in the near future. Already our committee chairman Ron Wasson has been appointed to serve on the DNC's Veterans and Military Families Council.

While this is personal for me and for our members, this is also very important to our state. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affiars reports that Oklahoma has at least 365,456 military veterans and when you add in their wives, sons and daughters the state has approximately 800,000 military service personnel and dependents.

Oklahoma is also home of some of the finest military installations in the United States, including Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City, Vance Air Force Base near Enid, Altus Air Force Base at Altus, the U.S. Army Field Artillery Center at Lawton's Fort Sill, the 95th Training Division at Midwest City, and the U.S. Army Amunition Depot near McAlester.

No comments: