Memorial Day: Honoring All Who Served
May 23, 2012 -
On Memorial Day, we will commemorate U.S. soldiers who have died in military service. We will pause in remembrance of those who sacrificed their lives in defense of our free Republic. This Memorial Day we give thanks to the men and women who devoted their lives to defending our freedom. It is the duty of our nation to honor and support our service members who have given up their lives for a greater cause than themselves.
Memorial Day is much more than a three-day weekend that marks the beginning of summer. It is a day we pay tribute to the soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coasties who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. We mourn the lives lost in battle and we honor our nation’s heroes. Their sacrifice should be celebrated – never forgotten.
Our service members who are fighting on the front lines to protect this nation deserve our utmost respect and thanks. I wholeheartedly support our troops, and I appreciate the work they’re doing around the world, especially in Afghanistan. As a veteran and a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, I am fully committed to ensuring those who serve in the military receive the quality care they deserve. I honor the devotion, service and legacy our service members have instilled in America.
As a nation, we need to focus on better serving our wounded warriors who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other traumatic brain injuries. Of the more than 30,000 suicides in this country each year, twenty percent of them are acts by veterans. As co-founder of the Invisible Wounds Caucus, it is my commitment to work with the VA to ensure our wounded soldiers are provided the necessary mental health care and support system they need.
I will continue to support legislation to better the health and the well being of our service members. Last fall, Congress passed important legislation to spur economic growth within the veterans’ community: the bipartisan Veterans Opportunity to Work (VOW) Act. The VOW Act is a comprehensive piece of legislation that addresses veteran unemployment.
Specifically, the VOW Act includes four important elements to care for veterans: (1) aids in the transition process when service members are discharged and seeking a job; (2) provides education and training for our veterans; (3) strengthens the protections provided by the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) so those who serve in the National Guard will be reemployed upon return; (4) and works with the Department of Labor to identify roadblocks our veterans are facing while seeking to obtain employment.
Not all who serve perish fulfilling their duty. They return to us as veterans and deserve our thanks and a commitment to serve them. As you and your families celebrate Memorial Day, I encourage all of you to commemorate the U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. Please also keep our active duty soldiers and their families in your thoughts and prayers.