Madam Speaker, the 34th President of the United States, Dwight Eisenhower, said that ``it is fitting and proper that we devote one day each year to pay special tribute to those whose constancy and courage constitute one of the bulwarks guarding the freedom of this nation and the peace of the free world.''
I agree, Madam Speaker, and I am proud to be a cosponsor of this resolution.
Fifty-nine years ago we began the tradition of honoring the Armed Forces on the third Saturday of May as the national Armed Forces Day.
Before 1950 there were individual holidays in honor of each of the five branches of the military--Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.
President Truman established this single holiday to honor the servicemembers of all branches as an act of unity after the Department of Defense was created.
There are several purposes for celebrating Armed Forces Day--educating the public on the jobs and role of the military, exhibiting the military's state of the art equipment, and most importantly for acknowledging the people who serve our country in the Armed Forces.
Today 1.5 million people are on active duty in the U.S. military. In addition, 850,000 men and women serve in the seven reserve and guard divisions--Army National Guard, Army Reserve, Marine Forces Reserve, Navy Reserve, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, and Coast Guard Reserve.
These brave folks serve our country all over the world at 820 different military installations.
About 140,000 servicemembers are stationed in Iraq and 56,000 are in Afghanistan.
This special day is celebrated every year with parades, military reenactments, air shows, and open houses at military bases.
The theme for this year's Armed Forces Day is ``United in Strength.''
United indeed, Madam Speaker. ``From this day to the ending of the world, we in it shall be remembered. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.''
Shakespeare penned this quote in Henry V. It represents the unfailing commitment and spirit of unity a military member has with his fellow warriors.
I am a very proud cosponsor of this measure and urge all Americans to offer their thanks to our military members who boldly defend our democratic freedoms at home and abroad.
And that's just the way it is.