Roby: A report from my eighth Mother’s Day visit with troops overseas
On May 7th, I returned from a bipartisan female congressional delegation (CODEL) to Afghanistan and Jordan, led by my good friend and colleague Congresswoman Susan Davis from California. This CODEL marked my eighth year traveling to visit with deployed U.S. soldiers and Afghan women around Mother’s Day. During the trip, I had the privilege of meeting with U.S. service members and top military commanders as well as Afghan and Jordanian leaders.
It is a tremendous honor to make this trip each year to spend time with our brave military personnel. The visit always serves as a reminder of our servicemembers’ sacrifices: They spend months at a time away from their families, often in harm’s way, defending our freedoms. I am so grateful to have this opportunity to thank some of our heroes in person for the difficult work they do to keep our nation secure.
This annual trip is also important because it affords me the opportunity to reaffirm my commitment to improving circumstances for Afghan women. I am glad to report that Afghan women have recently experienced progress toward obtaining basic human rights, and they are also playing an increased role in the Afghan National Defense Security Forces. It is critical that American leaders remain engaged to ensure continued forward momentum for these women. The success of Afghan women is indicative of the entire country’s success, and I am optimistic about the process toward reaching peace.
Our time in Jordan was also very rewarding. I am grateful for our country’s important relationship with this ally and for the stability they bring to the region.
I am thankful for our servicemembers every single day, but as a mom myself, I am especially grateful for these women – and men – around holidays like Mother’s Day. If you are a parent, I think we can probably agree that parenting, while a precious blessing, is challenging in its own right. I am overcome with gratitude for the brave men and women who wake up each day striving to be the best parent they can be while also dedicating their own lives in service to this country so that we can be safe and so future generations can experience the freedom that is uniquely American.
In the spirit of Mother’s Day, I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to all servicemembers, but especially to the moms and dads who wear the uniform. Many of us spend this special holiday with our families and loved ones, and we are only able to do this because of your sacrifices. Finally, I hope we will all keep in our thoughts and prayers the parents who are currently deployed, including those I was fortunate to spend time with in Afghanistan and Jordan, and the children here at home awaiting their safe return.
Martha Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama, with her husband Riley and their two children.