WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Murkowski today issued the following statement to commemorate Veterans Day: On the 11th hour, on the eleventh day of this eleventh month each year --the point at which the First World War ended -- communities across America are pausing to remember those who have defended our Nation’s freedom over these past 231 years. As Alaskans we have much to be thankful for this Veterans Day. In early October some 600 members of the Third Battalion, 297th Infantry Brigade of the Alaska National Guard returned to Alaska after a year’s service in Kuwait and Southern Iraq. The soldiers of the 3/297 came from 81 different communities around Alaska. The battalion includes substantial numbers of Alaska’s first peoples – Eskimos, Indians and Aleuts. They served with distinction in climates that were quite difference from those in which they have lived and trained. We are beginning to welcome home the members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team from Fort Richardson who have served a very difficult fifteen months in Iraq. This Veterans Day our hearts are with the families who lost a loved one during those fifteen months. Our Alaska communities pledge our continued support to you as you rebuild your lives. And our support for these returning paratroopers is a strong as ever. On Veterans Day 2006, the members of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Fort Wainwright were wrapping up their extended service in Iraq. Today, they are home preparing for their next mission as the 1/25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team. In addition, there are several other military units from Alaska, large and small, stationed around the world protecting our freedom. Alaska is home to more veterans as a percentage of our State’s total population than any other State in the union. Veterans choose Alaska because we are a state that supports its troops like no other. It stands to reason that a community that supports the military as strong as we do would be viewed as a community that welcomes the veteran. That’s a great reputation to have. Our veterans are growing in number and they need our support now more than ever. I have every confidence that Alaska will deliver for this generation of veterans – as it has for generations of veterans past. I’m proud to join with my fellow Alaskans in making this happen. Thank you and God Bless. Audio is available at http://src.senate.gov/murkowski/radio/ ###