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Installation Dinner May 2004

From the desk of President Bernadette Wolfe

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Bernadette Wolfe
Freedom is not free. These are four words that many Americans do not completely understand. Many Americans have never been the victim of a Molotov Cocktail party or experienced hearing the chants Yankee Go Home! by protesters. This horrifying situation is one our military personnel and Americans living abroad face in peaceful countries during unstable times. I have experienced these situations myself growing up around the military. Situations like these changed my life and my perspective of Patriotic Citizens who serve in our countrys volunteer military. I have a great understanding of the sacrifices service members make on a daily basis for our freedom.
 
Promoting veterans rights is a way of life in my family. I have many family members who have served in the military and in combat. They proudly served in campaigns ranging from the Civil War and World War II to present day conflicts such as Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
 
 
Our nation must preserve one of our most precious assets, an all-volunteer military. A person who chooses the military as a career does it for the love of their country, not money. Even when our country is involved in an unpopular conflict, we must protect the rights of our service members and their families. Service members should not have to worry about his or her familys well being while serving their country. Military benefits promises made to services members are often broken causing serious morale issues within the ranks. Congress habitually reduces military and veterans benefits in tough economic times. These cuts are tacked onto popular legislation and often go unnoticed by the public. Threatening a soldier with pay cuts during war is intolerable. Long hours or long deployments, extended field training exercises, substandard housing and lack of quality health care are all issues that our military must deal with, at the same time earning a salary that is little above the poverty line while supporting a family. Many different duty assignments are standard during a career in service to our nation. Multiple relocations in a short period of time are a quality of life issue that affects many military families.
 
In peacetime or in wartime, we must always remember our troops and veterans. Our service members make many sacrifices daily for our nation in the name of freedom. Freedom is the gift we should cherish and never take for granted. I will continue to promote military members and veterans rights and help our nation to never forget the price of freedom.