Friday, November 11, 2016
Billy Long: I am grateful for the hard work and sacrifice of our veterans
Just because we can never adequately pay our debt of gratitude to our Veteran heroes doesn't mean we shouldn't try. This November 11 we celebrate Veterans Day to honor the brave men and women who have served to defend our country. It is a time honored tradition that traces its roots to World War I.
November 11 is a significant day because on November 11, 1918, World War I officially ended. However, Congress didn't officially recognize the end of World War I until June 4, 1926. The original purpose of Veterans Day was to allow for a celebration involving parades and public meetings.
As time passed, Armistice Day turned into Veterans Day. On May 13, 1938, an Act in Congress was approved that made November 11 of each year a legal holiday that was for the purpose of celebrating world peace and veterans of World War I. As more time passed, on June 1, 1954, November 11 finally became known as Veterans Day. This day would not just recognize veterans in World War I, but all veterans. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed H.R. 7786 that officially changed the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day.
Veterans Day isn't just another day off. It's a day to honor those who have served and thank them for their service. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice, while some came back with injuries sustained during their time in the military.
As a Congressman, I am grateful for the hard work and sacrifice of the men and women who served our country and their families. I have consistently supported legislation that holds our government accountable to all veterans.
Just as recently as 2015 I cosponsored a piece of legislation that would allow veterans who live 40 miles from a Veterans Affairs (VA) health care facility to go to non-VA facilities for their health care. In 2016, I voted in favor of legislation that would ensure that veterans are cared for at VA hospitals and hold the VA accountable for its actions.
Those are just a few of the most recent examples of making sure that we are holding up our end of the deal for veterans. Even though Veterans Day is one day a year, it's important that we not only thank them on November 11, but each and every day.