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Pence visits Fort Drum for final speech as VP

Vice President Mike Pence Twitter
Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence spoke at Fort Drum Sunday, their last official speeches in office.

For his final speech in office, Vice President Mike Pence delivered an address in Watertown Sunday at the Fort Drum military installation. Pence, whose father was an Army veteran and whose son and son-in-law are currently serving in the U.S. military, thanked the soldiers for their sacrifice. He gave special credit to Fort Drum's 10th Mountain Division for their service in Afghanistan. They have been the most deployed division of the Army and were the first conventional unit deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11, which occurred in Pence's first year in D.C. as an Indiana congressman.

"As our time in office draws to a close, allow me to thank you for the privilege of serving you as vice president, it's been the greatest honor of my life," Pence said. "And it's been a special privilege to serve all of you, and men and women like you, who have met all over this country and all over the world wearing the military of the Armed Forces."

Pence, whose term comes to a close on Wednesday, also noted in his speech the achievements the Trump Administration has secured for the military in the last four years, giving a special shout out to North Country Rep. Elise Stefanik for her support of those efforts.

"Four years ago, we inherited a military that had been hollowed out by devastating budget cuts; our troops hadn't seen a significant pay raise in nearly a decade, and there were reports that readiness was even being impacted with a lack of equipment and supplies," Pence said. "But under the leadership of President Trump, we have rebuilt our military, we have restored the arsenal of democracy, and enacted the largest increases in our national defense since the days of Ronald Reagan. We also provided the largest pay increase in the last 10 years and you deserve every penny."

Although Pence did not address the attacks on the Capitol by President Trump's supporters earlier this month, he did say Americans have "been through a lot in the past year," but he has faith that the day will come when the country heals.

"The day will come when we put these challenging times in the past and emerge stronger and better than ever," Pence said. "The best days for the greatest nation on Earth are yet to come." 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.