May 20th marked the 56th Armed Forces Day - a time to demonstrate our gratitude to the soldiers, sailors and airmen who are working to keep our nation secure and protect our freedoms.
In 1950, President Truman led the effort to establish a day for Americans to pay tribute to members of our armed services and their families. This day replaced separate Air Force, Army and Navy Days - and stemmed from the unification of the Armed Forces under the Department of Defense.
This year's Armed Forces Day theme was America Supports You. At a time when many of our military personnel are deployed overseas, it is especially important to send and reinforce this message to our troops.
The work of those in uniform is very difficult - requiring personal commitment and sacrifice. Armed Forces Day provides us an opportunity to offer our appreciation and respect for those serving our nation, and it affords us the chance to thank the families who support them. We cannot forget the sacrifices that they too experience on our behalf.
On Armed Forces Day, I joined with others in honoring our troops and their families. I recently had the opportunity to help a local group prepare care packages for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. I know that similar efforts to support our troops take place not only here in Central Washington - but all across our nation - on a regular basis.
Throughout our nation's history we have been tested - and we have been blessed by the strength of everyday Americans. Heroes, not only from Central Washington, but from throughout the nation emerged who were willing to risk their lives in the defense of peace and freedom.
Providing our American troops with all of the support and resources they need and deserve is a national priority. That's why I have consistently supported funding needed to provide the latest equipment, regular pay increases, and quality health care for those in uniform.
The contributions of our nation's military are immeasurable, and they deserve to be in our thoughts and prayers not only on Armed Forces Day - but every day.
Congressman Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) represents Central Washington's 4th Congressional District.