Remembering the Iran Hostage Crisis

Thirty four years ago today, thousands of Iranian protestors broke down the gates of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, took the Americans inside as hostages, and began a 444-day ordeal that no American alive at the time will soon forget.   Again today, Iranian hardliners celebrated this anniversary in Tehran’s streets by burning American flags and chanting anti-American slogans. 

Later this week, the United States and our international partners will meet again with Iranian representatives in Geneva.  I have strongly supported the tough economic sanctions that have brought the Iranian regime to the negotiating table, and I urge the Administration not to back away from these sanctions until Iran translates its rhetoric into concrete and verifiable action.   Previous negotiation efforts have yielded little but additional time for Iran to continue its support of terrorism and expand its nuclear program. 

In honor of those Americans who were taken hostage on November 4, 1979, we must continue to insist that Iran forgo its enrichment program and allow full access for international inspectors.   Their courage and sacrifice those many years ago should prompt us to accept nothing less.

Military Family Appreciation Month

This November, we are celebrating Military Family Appreciation Month, a time when we will recognize and honor those brave men and women who support our servicemembers. Pennsylvania has a long and storied association across every branch of the U.S. military, and is home to the nation’s third-largest Army National Guard and fourth-largest Air National Guard. 

The spouses, children, parents, families, and friends who form the support network for our fighting men and women are unsung heroes.  They have made, and continue to make, tremendous sacrifices so that the rest of us are able to live in a free and safe society, and I am deeply grateful. 

I believe that promoting strong military families is crucial to the wellbeing of our servicemembers and the quality of our all-volunteer force.  I am a proud member of the Senate Military Family Caucus, which works to examine and address the unique challenges faced by military families in the areas of employment, education, childcare and healthcare. Military families play an essential role in supporting our men and women in uniform, and they deserve our full support. 

With Veteran’s Day approaching, I am reminded of something my father said, “We pray for military families and for their loved ones serving around the globe; we also pray for ourselves, that we may be worthy of their valor.”  

As we celebrate November as Military Family Appreciation Month, I encourage all Pennsylvanians to honor the special commitment and sacrifice that our servicemembers and their families make to keeping this great country safe. 

The 66th birthday of the United States Air Force

Today marks the 66th birthday of the United States Air Force.  Though the youngest branch of the military, the history and heritage of the Air Force is even older than its official creation on September 18th, 1947.  From the testing of early aircraft at the dawn of the twentieth century, to the massive expansion in the role of airpower in World War II, to the brave men and women who serve today in Afghanistan, the Air Force has a long tradition of bravery, innovation, and excellence.  Join me in wishing the United States Air Force, and all those that have served within its ranks, a happy birthday!

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Navy Yard Shooting

Today my thoughts and prayers are with everyone impacted by the tragic events in Navy Yard.  We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who serve our nation, in the armed forces, as civilians and as first responders. I commend the bravery on all levels of law enforcement in responding to this horrific attack. We will work to bring all those responsible for this attack to justice. I extend my condolences to those who lost loved ones today and my sympathies to the victims of this horrible tragedy.

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The 12th Anniversary of September 11th

Today, we remember those we lost on September 11th and the uncommon courage Americans showed during one of our Nation’s most difficult times. In Shanksville, at the Pentagon and in the streets of Manhattan, Americans came together and in some cases made the ultimate sacrifice to protect others. This 12th anniversary of 9/11 is a day to renew our commitment to confront our security and economic challenges in a spirit of unity and cooperation. While the Senate was in session this week, my wife Terese was able to attend the September 11 Memorial Service in Shanksville on my behalf. We pray today for those who died on 9/11, for their families and for our troops serving around the globe; we also pray for ourselves, that we may be worthy of their valor.

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