The two senators, recognized by the Association of the United States Army as its2009 Outstanding Legislators, praised the men and women of the United States Army for their courage and sacrifice in promoting stability at home and abroad.
Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said, “The men and women of the Army unified this country” by their willingness to serve wherever they have been ordered. “That’s what you have done. It’s a lesson we learned very tragically in Vietnam.”
Having served as a member of the committee for almost 30 years, he added, “I have come to understand: ‘Army Strong.’”
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., a member of the committee, said, “I am so proud of the Association of the United States Army – in business for 60 years.” He served in the Army Reserve for 13 years.
He was proud of the 2005 HEROES legislation, which upped the death gratuity to $100,000 paid to survivors of service members who die while on active duty, and the speed with which it was co-sponsored, cleared the committee and was approved to be signed into law.
Sessions said he was especially reminded of the importance of that act recently when writing letters of condolence to Alabama families who lost a service member in Afghanistan and Iraq.
While attending a service at Arlington National Cemetery, he said, “We have a high responsibility” when the nation orders its service members into harm’s way. “It is a bond and an obligation” to ensure that they are fully trained and equipped and cared for.
In presenting the certificates, Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., AUSA president, said, “Senator Levin through his leadership of the senate Armed Services Committee ensures our military services remain the best-equipped and most capable force in the world, but always with significant emphasis on the all-important human elements of our national defense – the pay and benefits and quality of life of our service men and women and their families.”
About Sessions, Sullivan said he “has focused his national security efforts on providing the military services with the resources they need. He is determined to ensure that the defense budget remains robust and is not gutted by any so-called ‘peace dividend.’”
Among the more than 100 attendees at the Capitol Hill event was Gen. George W. Casey Jr., chief of staff.
In the past, AUSA has recognized former Sens. John Warner, R-Va., and Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, and serving Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I.; Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.; Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Texas: Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii; James Inhofe, R-Okla.; and Daniel Akaka, D-Hawaii.