| Nov 10 2015
As published in: Clayton County Register
On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, fighting ceased between the Allied Powers and Central Powers, to end World War I. The European campaign officially ended with the Treaty of Versailles, but it is November 11, 1918 that is regarded throughout history as the end of the “war to end all wars.”
One year later, President Wilson proclaimed November 11th, as the first commemoration of Armistice Day; now officially recognized as Veterans Day.
As our nation once again finds itself in a long war, we honor America’s veterans for their unconditional devotion to service and defending the ideals that make our country great. We owe our safety and freedom to those Americans who served and sacrificed; whether it be those who served in peacetime or in combat at Normandy, Korea, Vietnam, the Middle East, or elsewhere around the world
As the servicemembers return home, they join the ranks of the great generations we must thank. Today we have young veterans surrounding us, from the classroom to the office, and they have a wealth of experience that must never be overlooked.
I am reminded of this every day as the young soldiers I lead in the military return to their lives at home. I often talk with them about the four pillars I strive for, and encourage them to strive for as well: Assuming risk. Leadership. Service to your community and country. An attitude of gratefulness.
I have been so fortunate that my 23 years of service in the military took me from Iowa to Baghdad and introduced me to some of the most patriotic and selfless Americans who woke up each day honored to fight for America’s freedom. These are the folks I think about today, just as I think of my husband who is a retired Command Sergeant Major and Army Ranger, and the other wonderful Iowa veterans I have met during my 99 county tour or here in our nation’s capital as they visit memorials dedicated to them and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.
Talking to veterans about their concerns and helping to address them is one of my top priorities—and it has been since I was first elected to the Senate. Ensuring our nation lives up to the promises we have made to our veterans will always be one of my key initiatives in the Senate; from my first piece of legislation designed to increase veterans’ access to mental health care, to legislation expanding rural veterans’ access to telehealth, to working on veterans’ casework, such as helping veterans to obtain missing military medals and cutting through red tape at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The veterans today are what make me optimistic about our nation’s future. As our servicemembers return to civilian life, they lead by example in their communities as veteran students, entrepreneurs, first responders, advocates, public servants and more.
Unfortunately, too often Americans see a divided America in our political discourse. The concerns I hear from Iowans are clear: we must come together to get our nation on the right track, for our safety – and for the safety of future generations.
To accomplish this, we must ensure we are doing everything we can to protect and honor those who already answered that call. From those who responded to the horrific events in Pearl Harbor in 1941, to tragic events on September 11th 2001, we must honor them through smart decisions here in Washington. Their service must never be forgotten.
It is my honor to wish all of our veterans in Iowa, and across the country, a happy Veterans Day.
Please never hesitate to reach out to me for assistance at www.Ernst.Senate.Gov, and thank you for your service.
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