“The soldier above all others prays for peace,” observed Gen. Douglas MacArthur, “for it is the soldier who must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”
On Veterans Day, it is fitting and right that we set aside time to honor those who have given of themselves for a cause greater than each of us – those whose uncommon sense of duty has led to uncommon acts of service – and to remember that the blessings of liberty we all enjoy are often preserved at a high price.
At the conclusion of World War I, hopeful Americans established “Armistice Day” to celebrate what they expected would be a long, lasting peace. As subsequent wars required the commitment of over 30 million American soldiers, Congress eventually decreed that November 11 would be observed as Veterans Day to honor the troops who served in every war.
These men and women have included sons and daughters, parents, and devoted patriots from all walks of life. They could have easily chosen to fulfill their other obligations or pursue other goals, but instead chose to defend the liberties cherished by their fellow Americans.
We owe these American heroes an unpayable debt of gratitude.
Unfortunately, for years our government has not provided the quality care promised to our veterans, and addressing this issue is a priority for me. Over the summer, I introduced the Improving Confidence in Veterans’ Care Act to correct an unbelievable oversight that has allowed unlicensed doctors to practice medicine at VA facilities. And since taking office, I have been proud to support several important bills – including the VA MISSION Act – to require accountability from the VA and to improve services for veterans, help the VA recruit qualified healthcare professionals, and fund treatment for veterans dealing with PTSD, opioid addiction, and homelessness.
But there is still much work to be done. We need to continue to expand veterans’ options for treatment, especially for rural veterans who live a long way from the nearest VA facility. We need to continue to improve services for soldiers transitioning into civilian life, including counseling and career services. And we need to continue to reform the VA to ensure our veterans receive the quality care they were promised.
My office is also a resource to help our fellow Texans navigate the federal bureaucracy, and my staff (some of whom are veterans themselves) and I have worked with dozens of local veterans to resolve claims, track down records, and even obtain long-overdue medals and commendations. While we cannot guarantee a specific outcome, we will work our hardest to make sure you are receiving the care and attention you deserve. If you or a veteran you know needs assistance dealing with the VA or another federal agency, please call (361) 884-2222 or contact me at cloud.house.gov, and I would be honored to take up your case.
Although gratitude cannot fully compensate for the sacrifices made, we recognize our veterans who never surrendered to fear when our nation’s security was on the line. These men and women chose to live with a higher calling and it is because of them that Americans can continue to celebrate the freedoms that we hold dear. For many veterans, the call to service continues – in community organizations churches, ongoing hurricane recovery efforts, and in many more ways. They have continued to preserve the fabric of our nation through selfless acts.
To the men and women who served: Happy Veterans Day! May your service inspire us to continued action. God richly bless you, and your families.