Weekly Columns

Arkansas recently celebrated the return of 150 members of the Arkansas National Guard from a nine month deployment, where troops spent much of that time in Kuwait. Members of the National Guard, our troops stationed at the Little Rock Air Force Base and the 188th Wing stand in defense of our nation. Arkansans have always been willing to do their part to serve and protect. In appreciation of the service and sacrifice of these men and women, and all those who have served our nation in uniform, we recognize May as National Military Appreciation Month. There are many special days we celebrate this month honoring the service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces and those who help strengthen our military. 

This year we celebrated the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe (VE) Day. To mark this occasion, I participated in events in Washington with WWII veteran Floyd Brantley of Arkadelphia, who served in the Navy in the Solomon Islands during WWII and continued military service for much of his life. Like many Americans of my generation, my dad served in WWII as an airman. I enjoyed talking with Mr. Brantley about the experiences of my dad during his years of service. 

In honor of the service of our troops like Mr. Brantley and my dad and those who helped on the homefront producing the tanks, ships and aircraft that helped propel the Allies to victory, a flyover of dozens of WWII aircraft flew over the National WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. In a spectacular scene above the National Mall, planes flew in 15 historically sequenced warbird formations representing the major battles of WWII. This unique event highlighted the determination of the Greatest Generation to defeat tyranny and shape the future for citizens all over the world.

Our military families make tremendous sacrifices. Husbands, wives, mothers and fathers and sons and daughters support our troops at home, during deployments and in mission transitions. This month we recognize these unsung heroes. As a state that is home to thousands of active duty military personnel, I know Arkansans understand the enormous responsibility spouses have in keeping our country safe. Military spouses are essential to the wellbeing of our servicemembers and the strength of our national defense. I look forward to highlighting Arkansas’s military spouses and honoring these champions of our Armed Forces.

Celebrating important days in our nation’s military history, the contributions and courage of servicemembers who made victory possible and their families and spouses is a reminder of the resolve of the American spirit and those who help make our country the greatest, freest country the world has ever know. Please join me in celebrating the valor and courage of our Armed Forces and veterans by thanking a family member, friend or neighbor who selflessly sacrifices to defend our freedom.