To the Soldiers, Airmen, and Families of the National Guard
Last year, more than 26,000 National Guardsmen deployed to Washington, DC, to support the Presidential Inauguration. We stood watch by the iconic monuments and memorials that characterize our Nation’s capital, protecting the symbols of our Nation and its journey. There are many striking images from that time, but one stands out.
It was January 18, and members of the 2nd Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment of the Florida National Guard were providing security at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. A photographer captured a moment of our Guardsmen standing before an engraving of Dr. King’s wise and eternal words: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Our Nation is no stranger to challenge and controversy. But there are men and women who forsake comfort and convenience for the safety of their fellow Americans, the betterment of our society, and the hope for a brighter future. There are men and women who believe in the principles of freedom and democracy, of equality and unity, of liberty and justice. They are the living embodiment of Dr. King’s values and vision. We are honored to call them members of our National Guard.
Thank you for answering every time our Nation, and our communities called. In times of challenge and controversy, when our Nation needs us most, you stand up and step forward: Always Ready, Always There.
Daniel R. Hokanson
General, U.S. Army
Chief, National Guard Bureau
Tony L. Whitehead
SEA, U.S. Air Force
National Guard Bureau