Catholics for Kerry

Thursday, April 14, 2005

John Kerry wins a big victory for Military Families

From the Congressional Record, April 13, 2005

This debate on emergency funding for our military wouldn't be complete if we did not begin to address the crises military families face at home as well as abroad.

I am proud that the Senate has passed my two amendments -- one to allow families to stay in military housing for a full year after the death of a spouse, the other to ensure all military families receive $500,000 in total death benefits when a loved one dies in service to America - but I am also deeply moved by the stories I've heard from across our country in the last 24 hours about the challenges to military families every day.

Yesterday, I sent an email to Americans asking them to share their stories - of husbands and wives, sons and daughters, neighbors and friends who serve their country with courage but have been left on their own by our policies here at home. Within hours over 2,000 Americans sent me their stories. They took time out of their busy days to share their stories on the hope someone would listen. Their voices must be heard in the halls of Congress. Today, I enter a small sample of their stories into the Congressional Record to prove we are listening, and hope that today's victory marks a new beginning - -and that soon Congress will answer all their prayers and pass a comprehensive Military Families Bill of Rights.

--John Kerry

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Alan - Aberdeen, SD

This is a story about my own family. In January 2003, my wife was called to active duty with her Army National Guard unit. She was inactive status and a mere 7 days from being completely out of the military when she was mobilized. She went from being a civilian attorney to a Sergeant/E-5 administrative clerk at a significant loss of pay. At that time, I became a single parent to four young children for one full year. In August 2004, I too was called to active duty with my Army Reserve unit. I went from being a university professor to being a Sergeant First Class/E-7. Once again, our four children were without one of their parents during their critical stages of development. We've done our part, now it's time for others to do their part. The burden placed on the National Guard and Reserve forces seems extreme. The morale among more seasoned soldiers, those with 10 to 20 years of service, is not good. Many are getting out of the military at the first available moment.

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