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Eighty-six years ago, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns of World War I fell silent. The “war to end all wars” was over.
But wars have not ended. Since that day so long ago, our soldiers have answered the call to serve again and again. World War II. Korea. Vietnam. The Persian Gulf. Afghanistan. Iraq. Our soldiers have left knowing they might not return. They have gone because “freedom isnít free.”
Each year on November 11, we take pause to honor all who have served and are serving. There are more than 670,000 veterans living in Washington state. I want to thank every single one of them. November 11 is also the anniversary of Washingtonís statehood, 115 years ago. Just as our veterans have been dedicated to our state, our state is dedicated to them.
We are one of the best states when it comes to securing federal funds and providing assistance, counseling, and long-term nursing care to our veterans and their families. The sacrifice they have all made deserves no less.
All of our veterans have lived lives abruptly interrupted by serviceóseparated from family, sometimes leaving promising careers or giving up educational dreams. Why? Because duty comes first. Sacrifice in the name of our country and our way of life comes first.
These sacrifices are humbling, and make us very proud to be Americans, and very proud of our veterans.
In May, Mona and I had the opportunity to visit the Normandy shores. We toured the Memorial overlooking Omaha Beach, and walked the sands where the allied invasion occurred. My own father, Jimmy Locke, was a staff sergeant in World War II. He was among the many who went ashore on the beaches of Normandy.
|Quote of the Week
“Our veterans ask very little of the country they served. But we owe them so much. On November 11, it is our turn to pay our deepest respects to all of our veterans.”
—Governor Locke, November 10, 2004
Visiting that vast and solemn expanse of beach was an experience Iíll never forget. I was filled with awe, humility and gratitude for the many valiant souls who fought and died there so that we might all enjoy freedom today. It was my honor to lay a wreath to commemorate this historic event.
On November 11, we honor all who have served and those who paid the ultimate price. With love of country in their hearts and courage in their souls, they entered the valley of death. For all of us. Let us never forget their sacrifice.Sincerely,
New Addition to the First Family
Governor Locke and First Lady Mona Lee Locke are the proud parents of a third child—a baby girl—born November 6 at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle at 4:40 a.m. The babyís name is Madeline Lee Locke. She weighed 7 lbs., 5 oz. at birth. “Mona and I are thrilled to welcome a third child to our family,” the Governor said. “Emily and Dylan are very excited about their baby sister! We appreciate the interest and best wishes of everyone who has contacted us.” The Lockes have two other children: Emily, age 7, and Dylan, age 5. This is the first time in Washington state history that a governor and first lady have had three children born while in office.
Developing New Ways to Respond to Oil Spills
Governor Locke and U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Jeffrey Garrett announced on November 4 the members of a task force formed to examine new ways to respond to oil spills. On October 22, the Governor and Admiral Garrett called for the creation of the Oil Spill Early Action Task Force to explore possible system improvements to prepare and respond to oil spills. The task force will specifically focus on actions to be taken during the early stages of oil spills that occur during bad weather. “I want the task force to devise ways to overcome conditions like darkness and fog to respond quickly to an oil spill,” the Governor said. A complete list of panel members is available on the Governorís Web site.
Helping our Returning Guard Members
State and federal agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding on November 5 to help Washington National Guard members returning from overseas. The Washington National Guard, the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs, Employment Security Department, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, Association of Washington Business, and the Governorís Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee signed an agreement to provide support to the thousands of members of the Washington National Guard mobilized for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. It ensures that all Washington National Guard and Reserve veterans receive a letter from the Governor, the Adjutant General and the Director of the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs welcoming them home and providing information to access VA health care, claims assistance, employment services and mental health services.
Success Story: Protecting Puget Sound
The Legislative Research Librarians, a section of the National Conference of State Legislatures, awarded the Puget Sound Action Team the 2004 Notable Document award for the Action Teamís Progress Report: Mission to Protect & Restore Puget Sound. The Legislative Research Librarians called the report an “exceptional example of intergovernmental cooperation.” The Puget Sound Action Team is the state's partnership for Puget Sound that defines, coordinates and puts into action the state's environmental and sustainability agenda for Puget Sound. For a copy of the report visit the Action Teamís Web site or call (800) 54-SOUND.
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