Monday, November 09, 2015

Hartzler: Thanks to those who secured our freedom

(From Fourth District Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler)

Every autumn – on the 11th day, of the 11th month – Americans pay tribute to our fellow citizens who have served at home and abroad to protect the freedoms we all cherish and, in some cases, take for granted. It was on that day in 1918 that the hostilities of World War One ended. We mark Veterans Day, originally known as Armistice Day, on November 11th each year when we pause to give thanks to the men and women in uniform who have helped make this country the envy of people throughout the world.

Paying tribute to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines was something I learned early in life. As the daughter of an Army Reservist, I was taught of the importance of Veterans Day and our veterans. Now, as a member of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, my respect and admiration for the defenders of our freedoms grows every day. We are truly blessed to be living in a land whose freedom was bought by the actions of brave Americans who took the oath to defend us against our enemies.

But our appreciation for veterans and all they have done requires more. Many of our returning veterans are suffering from war-related illnesses, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Some are having difficulty finding employment while others are homeless.

Our Congressional office has made it a point to reach out and help our returning men and women. My House colleagues and I have made veterans a priority, passing bills that include the Hire More Heroes Act of 2015 to encourage the hiring of more veterans. We passed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act to improve access to and quality of medical care. We also passed the Vulnerable Veterans Housing Reform Act to reduce veteran homelessness by reforming how the Department of Housing and Urban Development provides housing assistance to disabled veterans. In Missouri, we have held two Veterans Resource Fairs to connect those who served with the services they so deserve.

While we have taken steps and continue to move forward in our efforts to provide our veterans with the services they need and the benefits they have earned, we know that what we do can will never be enough.

If you are not a veteran, there is a good chance you have one in your family, or at least know one. On November 11th, take a moment to pause and say “thank you” to a veteran. We should give honor to those to whom it is due. Today is a day we all can appreciate our freedoms anew by showing appreciation to those who secured them.

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