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May is National Military Appreciation Month

Published May 7, 2015

Commentary: Salute to armed forces for National Military Appreciation Month

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 5, 2015) -- The men and women of the United States armed forces serve the nation with distinction and honor, making tremendous sacrifices for the freedom and protection of this great country.

They are recognized in May for National Military Appreciation Month, which includes Public Service Recognition Week, May 3-9; Armed Forces Day, May 16; and Memorial Day, May 25.

On or off duty, service members live the military's core values, bringing a tradition of service and selflessness to their place of employment, and where they live, worship, and volunteer.

They are Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Sailors and Coast Guardsmen. They are parents, spouses, siblings, friends, neighbors, and pillars of the community.

They fought the battles for freedom, starting with the founding of the nation. They have bravely gone and continue to go into harm's way to risk their lives for the safety and protection of others. They are the wounded warriors, and those who paid the ultimate price in defense of the nation.

They protect the homeland.

They are the drill sergeants who are training the next generation of Soldiers, and Army researchers and doctors conducting groundbreaking work to revolutionize medicine and battlefield care.

They are the National Guard troops who deployed to Baltimore to protect the city during recent rioting there; they are the Coast Guardsmen remaining vigilant 24/7 safeguarding the nation's waterways.

They serve and protect people in faraway lands.

They are conducting air strikes against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq; they are in Afghanistan advising and training Afghan forces in an effort to bring stability to that nation. They are the Soldiers who deployed to West Africa to support efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak.

They are the Green Berets and other military members who are currently assisting with earthquake response efforts in Nepal; they are the Sailors on the USNS Comfort on a six-month deployment helping the people of Central and South America and the Caribbean.

They are around the globe partnering with allies to make the world a safer place; they are the warfighters conducting grueling training in inhospitable conditions to ensure they are prepared to face the enemy.

They work long hours and spend holidays, birthdays and other milestones far from loved ones. They operate in dangerous locations, and have been on multiple deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and wherever else the call has taken them.

They honor their brothers and sisters who have made the ultimate sacrifice, never forgetting each person's remarkable service. They pause in silence as the Army's 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, The Old Guard, escorts departed members to their final earthly resting spot on the nation's sacred grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

Whether Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy or Coast Guard, one thing remains the same: they raised their right hand and swore to uphold the highest traditions of the United States military, knowing the sacrifices could include paying the ultimate price.

They are the best America has to offer.

For this unyielding devotion to duty and dedication to something bigger than oneself, the nation salutes all members of the United States military, now and always.