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Paying tribute to our military
Paying tribute to our military

Congressman Ike Skelton
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 6, 2009) — Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of sharing Thanksgiving dinner with some of our service members stationed in Europe. After visiting soldiers preparing for their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in Vicenza, Italy, I spent a morning at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and celebrated Thanksgiving with the troops currently recovering there. I also delivered several hundred letters of support and appreciation, written by students of the Fourth Congressional District, to the wounded warriors. While many at Landstuhl are severely injured, their morale remains high and their dedication unwavering.

From Landstuhl, I traveled to Luxembourg and presented a wreath at the American Cemetery and Memorial, the final resting place of over 5,000 fallen American soldiers. Killed during the Battle of the Bulge and the ensuing push to the Rhine River, these heroes made the ultimate sacrifice fighting despotism so that we might enjoy the freedoms that we have today. It is a beautiful cemetery, and representing the people of the Fourth District at the ceremony was one of the most moving experiences of my life.

Throughout my trip, many uniformed men and women expressed their gratitude for the encouragement they receive from Americans back home. We must continue this support, and I eagerly encourage you to show your appreciation in any way that you can. Although unsolicited mail, care packages, or donations cannot be delivered for security reasons, members of the general public can send messages to service members through an official Department of Defense website, www.ourmilitary.mil. This website also maintains a list of organizations that members of the public can contact to donate authorized care packages and other useful items to our service members.

Community members may also want to support the families of those who are deployed. These families live right here in many of our communities, as Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District is home to several major military installations, including Whiteman Air Force Base, Fort Leonard Wood, and the National Guard Training Center in Jefferson City. Local support not only meets a critical need for military families, but it is also a way for volunteers to contribute to their community.

As I witnessed over the Thanksgiving holiday, our military remains strong and our service members resolute. Since these men and women have done so much for our country, I encourage you to remember them this holiday season.

Congressman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) serves as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee. Congressman Skelton’s website is at www.house.gov/skelton.

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