Tucson, AZ – Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva released the following statement today in observance of Veterans Day, November 11:
“This Veterans Day, our Nation will gather to remember and honor the millions of brave men and women who have served our country to protect us and secure our most precious freedoms.
“How appropriate that we exercised one of those freedoms, the right to vote, within the same month we honor those who sacrificed their lives for that basic right.
“Sadly, on this Veterans Day however, our men and women are still engaged in hostilities, and will pay the ultimate price while wearing the uniform of the nation.
“We must take this opportunity to renew and reaffirm our commitment to the more than 25 million veterans in America. They have tremendous needs and we must be there for them. Let us support and pay tribute to our troops currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the globe. These troops have served our nation with honor and distinction and will become the veterans of tomorrow and a grateful nation must always honor that service.
“Now is the time for the U.S. government to again fulfill our moral obligation to our veterans. This past September, The House passed vital funding for Military Construction and Veterans under the final 2009 funding bill. The 2009 funding builds on the historic increases for veterans passed into law last year, the largest funding increase in the 77 year history of the Veterans Administration, and the new GI Bill of Rights passed into law earlier this year.
“The House also passed The GI Bill for the 21st Century, which fully restores full, four-year college scholarships for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans – on a par with the educational benefits available after World War II. This bill will make Iraq and Afghanistan veterans part of an American economic recovery, just as the veterans of World War II helped grow and strengthen the American middle class.
“I was also proud to support the Wounded Warriors Act, which will address the revelations of problems and gaps in care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military health care facilities.
“With these bills, House Democrats will have done more to increase veterans funding in 2 years than Republicans did in 12 years. We have kept our promise to America’s veterans. This bill is about maintaining a strong national defense, improving military readiness and respecting with word and deeds those veterans who defend us and our freedom.
“The new Administration and Congress will continue to honor their service with legislation worthy of our grateful nation. Please take time to honor America’s soldiers, veterans and their families. They deserve our support and thanks from the American people.”