Now more than ever, we must have a modern military to keep this country safe at home and abroad.
Kentuckians are a key part of that mission, not only with our military bases but through the Kentucky National Guard.
We have 400 members of the Guard overseas in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo. Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 12,000 Kentucky National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have deployed in defense of this country.
Seventeen of these men and women have died.
Our troops have been in the thick of the fight. The 201st Engineer Battalion, which returned last March, took part in 467 engagements with enemy forces.
And our Guard has done this in a year in which I ordered the largest call-up in history in response to last January’s devastating ice storm.
Ladies and gentlemen, their courage and commitment demands our gratitude.