From national security to natural disasters, National Guard members leave jobs and family behind, to respond when the nation calls. This year, on the 15th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, and the downing of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa., more than 3,500 of these heroes will come together in Baltimore for the National Guard Association's 138th Conference and Exhibition.
The National Guard Conference, which will take place at the Baltimore Convention Center September 9-12, includes activities in remembrance of the events of September 11, 2001. First responders will be recognized during a plenary session at the conference. Members of the Maryland National Guard will unfurl the U.S. flag on the field at M&T Bank Stadium prior to the Baltimore Ravens' home opener on Sunday, September 11 and an Air National Guard flyover before kickoff will launch the Ravens' season. Some National Guard members are also likely to participate in Baltimore City's Run to Remember 11k and 5k races honoring the victims, survivors, and rescuers of September 11, 2001.
The conference, held annually at cities throughout the U.S. and hosted this year by the Maryland National Guard, draws National Guard members from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories. Baltimore was selected from a list of cities vying to host this prestigious group.
The National Guard Association (NGAUS) is putting the finishing touches on the conference's slate of speakers, who will cover emerging threats to national security, disaster response at home, budgetary challenges, the path forward in an unpredictable world, and other topics. Already confirmed to address attendees are:
- Senator Lindsey Graham, co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus;
- Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force;
- Gen. Robert B. Abrams, commanding General, U.S. Army Forces Command;
- Gen. David L. Goldfein, Chief of Staff, U.S. Air Force;
- Gen. Joseph L. Lengyel, Chief, National Guard Bureau;
- Gen. Mark A. Milley, Chief of Staff, U.S. Army; and
- Gen. Lori J. Robinson, Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.
Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Maryland Governor Larry Hogan have also been invited to address conference attendees.
It's not too late to register to attend or sponsor the conference! The NGAUS has blocked hotel rooms in Baltimore's Inner Harbor and arranged air travel discounts. For information on housing or sponsorships, email NGAUS2016 at epponline.com or call 410.997.0763. For more information on the conference – or to participate in the conference golf tournament, community service at Our Daily Bread, or other activities – visit the conference website.