Written by Marsha Blackburn
washington d.c. – Nearly 80 years ago, the Allied assault on Nazi territory landed on the beaches of Normandy. The sacrifice of over 2,500 American soldiers that day and countless more throughout World War II made the defeat of the Nazis a reality.
Today, our soldiers have not wavered in their commitment to guaranteeing the freedom of future generations. As Military Appreciation Month draws to a close, the people of Tennessee show their gratitude to our heroes throughout the year.
Then, when President James K. Polk called for 2,600 volunteers to fight in the Mexican-American War, 30,000 Tennesseans stepped up. These brave volunteers made history and earned a reputation as some of the most combative troops in the country.
During World War I, the Tennessee National Guardsmen of the 30th Division received more Medals of Honor than any other division in theater. Our troops once again proved themselves in World War II, where the 117th Infantry Regiment became one of the most decorated of the war. Decades later, after terrorists attacked our country on 9/11, the people of Tennessee were among the first to brave the front lines in the global war on terror.
At home, Tennesseans remember the heroic service of our military every day. In March, the National Guard raced to prevent a wildfire in Great Smoky Mountain National Park from spreading to nearby communities. Last year, our Wardens rescued those swept away by deadly flash floods in Humphreys County, provided cleanup assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, and performed air rescue missions for emergencies. medical conditions, including bear attacks and hiking injuries. The Tennessee National Guardsmen deliver on their promise to be “always ready, always there” and in the volunteer state’s military communities – in Clarksville, Tullahoma, Holston and Millington – service members proudly defend their nation through research, training and deployment.
Tennessee owes our troops a debt of gratitude. We must remain committed to supporting our military heroes and the families who make their work possible. During my visit to Fort Campbell last month, I spoke with soldiers about the resources they need to win on the front lines. In Washington, I lead the way to improve the readiness capabilities of active-duty troops, food security for military families, and access to health care for veterans.
Nearly 80 years after the start of the Allied victory on the beaches of Normandy, we are still unable to repay the sacrifice of our soldiers. But we can continue to express our gratitude through action. On this D-Day and every day in the State of the Volunteers, I join the people of Tennessee in supporting the heroes who risked their lives for freedom.