The Secretary just wrapped up remarks at the American Legion's 2009 National Convention. She spoke about the Department’s ongoing support and outreach to American veterans, and announced her commitment to employ 50,000 veterans at DHS by 2012. The department currently employs over 46,000 veterans; one quarter of its workforce.
“The men and women of the armed services work tirelessly every day to ensure the safety and security of the American people,” said Secretary Napolitano. “We are honored by the thousands of veterans working at DHS who use their unique experience and extraordinary dedication to help DHS protect our nation from threats and prepare for disasters.”
The 2009 National Convention, in Louisville, KY this year, is the governing body of the American Legion, and brings together the Legion's 55 departments to chart the course forward for the Legion.
After her speech, the Secretary stopped in a meeting of the Women's Auxiliary and discussed her own adolescent experiences at the New Mexico Girls State session. Girls State is sponsored by the American Legion, and provides "hands-on citizenship training" to high school juniors around the country. This year, Girls State is emphasizing "Patriotism, Participation, and Progress." You can visit the American Legion's website for more information.
The Secretary also spoke to the Women's Auxiliary about the importance of preparedness, particularly around the topic of H1N1. She emphasized that we all possess a shared responsibility when it comes to being ready for any kind of national situation; be it H1N1, a natural disaster, or a terrorist incident. She ended her impromptu remarks to a standing ovation, with one member of the women's auxiliary reportedly yelling out, "Yeah, girl!"