REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Armed Forces Day 2019
Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Good afternoon to all of my fellow Oregonians. Thank you for joining us in celebrating the heroes of our state and nation, both our current service members and our veterans.
I want to take a moment to honor the families of our service members, who in times of war tended to family needs at home, worked in our factories, and encouraged our military worldwide.
Next month, we’ll mark the 75th anniversary of the battle of Normandy, or D-Day. As we honor our Armed Forces this year, I want to specifically recognize and thank our World War II veterans across our nation, throughout Oregon, and those with us here today.
We have over 9,300 WWII vets living in Oregon today, three percent of our total veteran population.
Our military was then — and still is — a success due to the efforts of our families and workers here at home supporting them.
Today we are privileged to have with us up on the stage a woman who represents all those who stepped into traditionally male occupations in factories and shipyards, Rita Hathaway. And an English war bride, Joy Beebe, who was serving in Europe on D-Day nearly seventy-five years ago.
The call to serve is a sacred trust. It takes enormous bravery and strength to go through the rigors of military training, and then to stand ready at a moment’s notice to respond to any crisis. Whether in the midst of brutal wars or horrendous natural disasters, our service members bring a sense of stability and professionalism. It is these qualities that make them our heroes.
I also want to honor the incredible diversity of our armed forces. Throughout our history, people of every race, gender, and sexual orientation have proudly served.
In the US, a high percentage of our Native Americans have proudly served—12.5 percent. In WWII, 44,000 Native Americans served. The entire population of Native Americans at the time was less than 350,000.
The great State of Oregon has had heroes in every American war, including before we were even a state. Today we honor all of our service members from every single war.
During World War II, Oregon’s 41st Infantry Division was the longest-deployed division throughout the war. Collectively, Oregon had more than 5,000 wounded and more than 2,800 heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today.
To their families: we owe a debt that we can never pay back. Instead, we take moments on days like today to honor them.
This year, Oregon’s 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team is scheduled to begin mobilizing more than 2,500 of our citizen-soldiers. Our ONG service members are deploying to areas all around the globe to continue the tradition of supporting peace efforts, and improving lives in their host countries around the world.
They will only succeed in their missions with family’s and employer’s support.
I encourage everyone today to take a moment and say thank you to those service members and veterans that you know. The grandfather or grandmother who served in WWII, Korea, or Vietnam. Mothers and daughters, sons and fathers who have served in Desert Storm, Iraqi Freedom, or Enduring Freedom, and all the other operations around the globe.
Make sure they know you are proud of them. Let them know you appreciate their sacrifice in order to keep America safe and free.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done, and continue to do, for the great State of Oregon.