Members of the General Assembly honored North Carolina’s history of courageous veterans and current military personnel this afternoon as part of Military Appreciation Month.
Military commanders, officers and personnel processed from the Bicentennial Plaza to the General Assembly building and were greeted by Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger before meeting with other legislators prior to session.
The adoption of a joint resolution continued the legislative priority of maintaining North Carolina’s military-friendly environment. In 2013, the General Assembly passed six bills that directly affected both active military personnel and North Carolina’s veterans. In 2014, the House and Senate will review several potential changes for veterans and military personnel – including the Governor’s proposal to grant in-state tuition for military veterans.
“I am excited because I have not seen anywhere near this level of military and veteran-friendly legislation in years past,” said Major General Cornell Wilson, who serves as Military Advisory to Governor McCrory. “If we can get these final pieces into place, we will have accomplished more this session than has been accomplished in quite some time.”
The joint resolution honoring the men and women of the United States Armed Forces passed unanimously in both the House and Senate as state leaders demonstrated the priority to honor our most heroic citizens. North Carolina holds six major Department of Defense and Department of Homeland Security installations and the U.S. military is the second largest sector of the state’s economy.
The full text of today’s joint resolution is below.
A Joint Resolution
Expressing Gratitude And Appreciation
To The Men And Women Of The United States Armed Forces
Whereas, the month of May is National Military Appreciation Month and honors, remembers, recognizes, and appreciates all military personnel; those men and women who have served throughout our history, and all who now serve in uniform and their families, as well as those Americans who have given their lives in defense of our freedoms we all enjoy today; and
Whereas, North Carolina is the home of six major Department of Defense (DOD)/Department of Homeland Security (DHS) installations: Coast Guard Station, Elizabeth City; Fort Bragg; Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point; Marine Corps Air Station New River; Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune; and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, as well as the North Carolina National Guard and other DOD/DHS activities and organizations; and
Whereas, North Carolina is home to nearly 800,000 veterans and has the third largest military force in the nation with nearly 120,000 active duty personnel and another 12,000 members of the North Carolina National Guard; and
Whereas, more than 540,000 individuals are either directly employed by the military or work in jobs providing goods or services that support the military’s presence in North Carolina; and
Whereas, businesses with defense-related contracts operate in 87 of North Carolina’s 100 counties, contributing to an excess of $3.4 billion in defense procurement contracts in North Carolina during 2012; and Whereas, the observance of events recognizing the contributions of the Armed Forces is a tangible and highly effective way of sustaining morale and improving quality of life for service members and their families; and
Whereas, veterans, service members, their families, and their communities have and shouldered a heavy burden exemplified by repeated combat deployments for their nation; and
Whereas, the support of the families of service members enhances the effectiveness and capabilities of the Armed Forces; and
Whereas, North Carolina is committed to supporting and promoting the military within the State; and
Whereas, the continued long-term military presence in North Carolina is directly dependent on DOD/DHS’s ability to operate not only its installations but also its training and other readiness functions critical to national defense; and
Whereas, it is therefore of paramount importance to the future of North Carolina to maintain the best possible relationship with all branches of the United States military and to promote practices that maintain North Carolina’s preeminent position as the best location for military bases and training installations; and
Whereas, to those ends, it is critical for all North Carolinians, all North Carolina businesses, all sectors of North Carolina’s economy, and especially all branches and agencies of North Carolina’s State and local governments to be knowledgeable about not only the military’s presence and contributions to our State but also of the military’s special and unique requirements that are critical to carrying out its national defense mission; and
Whereas, North Carolina also seeks to promote the economic development, growth, and expansion of other industries within the State, such as the agriculture/agribusiness industry, the renewable energy industry, the tourism/outdoor recreation industry, and the fisheries industries; and
Be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring:
SECTION 1. The General Assembly expresses its profound gratitude and appreciation to all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces for their selfless service and pays tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
SECTION 2. This resolution is effective upon ratification.