The names of World War II battles etched into the granite memorial in our nation’s capital brought back memories for the nearly 80 members of the Greatest Generation who came to see the memorial dedicated to their sacrifice and service. I had the opportunity to experience the veterans’ first look at the WWII memorial that honors their heroics when they flew from Arkansas on an Honor Flight. It was truly inspiring. The stories they told serve as a reminder of the commitment and dedication of our men and women who selflessly served and continue to serve in our military.
On Veterans Day we honor the sacrifice, heroism and determination of those who have been called to serve our nation in uniform and recommit ourselves to fighting on their behalf.
There are more than 20 million living veterans, more than 250,000 of whom call Arkansas home. Honoring our promise to the men and women who selflessly placed themselves in harm’s way has always been one of my highest priorities. The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee is always looking for ways to improve programs and implement new plans to help make the lives of our veterans better. I have worked to improve access to veteran health care services, expand educational opportunities and provide opportunities for our veterans to find meaningful employment once they leave the service so they can provide for their families and succeed in our global economy.
We have made progress on the front of expanding veterans’ benefits, but there is still work to be done. It’s important that we continue to improve these benefits. That’s why I support advanced funding for key veterans’ programs, to ensure that all the services which our veterans have earned, and depend on, will continue should there be future funding lapses. As a cosponsor of Putting Veterans Funding First Act, I am committed to fulfilling our commitment to veteran services. This legislation would require Congress to fully fund the Department of Veterans Affairs’ discretionary budget one year ahead of schedule, just like the medical accounts are funded a year in advance.
Our Armed Forces are made up of patriots from all corners of our nation who are called to a higher service in defense of our freedoms. I encourage all Americans to use this day as a time to thank a veteran for their courage, commitment and honor. It’s because of their dedication and sacrifice that we enjoy our freedoms.
Brave Americans will continue to bear the burden of defending our interests at home and abroad and sacrificing their lives for the future of our nation. We salute our veterans for their selfless commitment and immeasurable sacrifice to protect this nation and its ideals so we can continue to be the greatest, freest country the world has ever known. To all of our veterans, thank you and may God bless you, your families, and the United States of America.