The National Guard and Reserve constitute nearly half of the nation’s military forces and make vital contributions to overseas missions and domestic emergency response operations, President Barack Obama said in a presidential proclamation issued Sept. 16.
In the proclamation, Obama named Sept. 18-24 National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week.
“I call upon all Americans to join me in expressing our heartfelt thanks to the members of the National Guard and Reserve and their civilian employers,” the president said.
He also called on state and local officials, private organizations and all military commanders to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, he said, “the 9/11 Generation has borne the burden of war with courage and valor, continuing the legacy of the brave men and women who served before them.”
More than 5 million volunteers have worn the country's uniform over the past 10 years and thousands have given their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan, the president said.
“During America's struggle for independence, ordinary individuals in small towns across the colonies banded together to confront an empire,” Obama said. “Today, their spirit lives on in the Guard and Reserve.”
The members of our National Guard and Reserve demonstrate the dignity and selflessness that are at the core of the American spirit, he added.
“These patriots serve not only in combat, but also when disaster strikes at home, offering a strong hand to victims of floods, tornadoes, and fires across America,” the president said.
Employers who provide jobs to Guard and Reserve members when they are home also are vital to the nation’s success, he said, and many offer support as well to service members and their families during deployments.
“We are deeply grateful for their work, and this week we celebrate not only our service members, veterans and military families, but also their devoted employers,” the president said.
This year, he added, to help connect service members, veterans and their families to employment opportunities, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, announced Joining Forces, a comprehensive national initiative to support and honor the nation’s patriots.
“As part of this initiative we issued a challenge to private sector employers to hire or train 100,000 unemployed veterans or their spouses,” the president said, and proposed tax credits for businesses that hire returning troops.
“This week we remember our obligations to each other, and we pay tribute to the employers of our Guardsmen and reservists whose support and flexibility is vital to the strength of our military,” the president said.
“The support of employers across our country,” Obama added, “reflects the best of the American spirit -- the understanding that we are bound together to serve and protect our nation.”
National Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Week Proclamation