Today is Military Appreciation Day, so as you might imagine that means politicians giving a bunch of speeches about how much we all, you know, appreciate the military.
These speeches wouldn’t be particularly notable, given how they tend to blend into one another, but I thought something in Senator Kevin Cramer’s address on the Senate floor was noteworthy. While listing out the North Dakota-specific military members to be appreciated, Cramer gave special praise to the North Dakota National Guard for their handling of the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.
“We were abandoned by the federal government” in the face of “out of state activists” who “violently protested,” Cramer said of the situation, referring to the Obama administration’s refusal to take against against unlawful protesters residing on federal lands.
Cramer said the National Guard troops “peacefully and professionally” assisted law enforcement in responding to the protests “even as their families were targets” for some of the more extreme elements of the anti-pipeline movement.
Here’s the full video of Cramer’s remarks:
The National Guard response to the protests cost nearly $9 million and included 1,421 Guard members.
That number was made up of 1,272 Guard members from the Army National Guard and 149 from the Air National Guard. They came from 159 communities in North Dakota, and nine other states.
The participation of these Guard members has been painted as something sinister by some of the political zealots who supported the protests but in truth, as Senator Cramer noted, their presence and professionalism probably saved lives.