Leader Blues

Monday, February 26, 2007

TOP STORY >>Pryor sees U.S. spiritual strength

By HEATHER HARTSELL
Leader staff writer

Sen. Mark Pryor and Rep. Vic Snyder joined Little Rock Air Force Base commanders and airmen, and other distinguished visitors at LRAFB Friday morning for the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

Pryor, the keynote speaker for the event, addressed the 300-strong audience, saying it was an honor for him to participate in an event that brings people of all faiths together.

“It’s special to be a part of the national fiber. People of this country have a spiritual aspect of their life, and we need to address that,” he said.

“I bring greetings from the Senate prayer breakfast. We meet every Wednesday morning at the Capitol, and the menu is almost the same there,” Pryor said of the buffet-style breakfast of biscuits, sausage, bacon and eggs.
According to Pryor, senators and former senators are allowed at the Capitol prayer breakfast, as well as leaders from other countries.

“We are able to demonstrate to the world how we come together in prayer once a week even with our differences,” the Democrat from Arkansas said, adding it was the best hour he spends all week. He told of the practical benefit of the weekly prayer meetings, saying Washington was “way too partisan.”

“To come together in prayer for each other gives me a better perspective on things. I see it as a chance to be better senators and a way to keep a better perspective,” the senator said.

Pryor asked those in attendance to pray for the country’s leaders – the chaplains deployed to the Middle East, the congressional leaders, Pentagon officials and especially President Bush.

“The President has the weight of the world on his shoulders, and I’ve told him that,” Pryor said.
“Every night when I tuck my children into bed, we say a prayer for the President,” he added.
Pryor said he was always honored to be on LRAFB.

“I’m proud to be here and be a part of this base and to continually help the facility and people here,” he said, telling the airmen that LRAFB has an excellent reputation and is a first-class base.
“You do things right and should be very proud of that, just as we are,” Pryor said.
He also took a moment to brag about Rep. Snyder.

“Little Rock Air Force Base could not have a better friend in Washington than Snyder,” Pryor said.
“He’s on the House Armed Services Committee and was a champion of the BRAC process,” Pryor said, referring to the Base Realignment and Closure commission, which recommended several hundred more airmen and 17 more airplanes for the Jacksonville air base.

The first National Prayer Breakfast was held in 1953, when President Eisenhower called on the nation’s leaders to join him for the first presidential prayer breakfast.

Since then, it has been held annually in Washington, sponsored by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The purpose of the occasion is to bring together the leadership of the U.S. government in recognition of the moral and spiritual values on which the nation was founded.

The tradition has spread to nearly every military and civilian community throughout the nation.

Brig. Gen. Larry Haltom, deputy adjunct general of the Arkansas National Guard, and area mayors were among the distinguished visitors Friday morning, including Tommy Swaim of Jacksonville, Eddie Joe Williams of Cabot, Art Brooke of Ward, Dan Stedman of Sherwood, and Rick Holland of Benton.