WASHINGTON—During National Military Appreciation Month, U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA)—a combat veteran and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities—spoke on the Senate floor to recognize the contributions of Iowa’s servicemembers and veterans, and to highlight the initiatives she is working on to support them and their families.
Click here or the image above to watch Senator Ernst’s speech
Below are Senator Ernst’s remarks:
“During Military Appreciation Month, we honor the men and women who wear our nation’s uniform, those who have worn it in the past, and those who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.
“As a senator and a combat veteran with over 23 years of service between the Army Reserves and Iowa Army National Guard, I am grateful to have the opportunity to get to know so many patriotic and selfless Americans.
“And Iowans are well-represented in those ranks.
“Nearly nine percent of our state’s adult population are veterans. The national average is just above six-and-a-half percent.
“From World War II to the global war on terrorism, Iowans have served with honor and distinction.
“Military Appreciation Month is also a time to recognize our military families who sacrifice so much and faithfully support our men and women in uniform. They keep things running during long deployments and help during the transition back to civilian life, they help that family member, and of course, long, long after.
“So to all of our military families in Iowa, and, of course, across the nation, thank you for also choosing to serve.
“This month is also a good opportunity for those of us in the Senate to highlight some of the work we’re doing to support our servicemembers, our military families, and, of course, our veterans. Next week, the Senate Armed Services Committee will be starting our yearly National Defense Authorization Act.
“In anticipation of that process, I’ll be joining my Democratic colleague from Arizona, Senator Sinema, to introduce two new bills to address military sexual assault; one to improve prevention, and the other to streamline prosecutions.
“I’ll also be introducing a bill with Senator Warren that will explore ways to better track traumatic brain injuries sustained by our warfighters. Helping our servicemembers with injuries sustained in battle is a top priority of mine – we owe it to our wounded warriors to seek out game-changing treatments—and help them heal and recover.
“And as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, I’ll also use the NDAA process to ensure the bill fosters technological advancements to better equip our warfighters for their success.
“Military Appreciation Month is an important reminder of the daily sacrifice made by our servicemembers, our military families, and our veterans. It’s also a solemn time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to keep America free, safe, and prosperous.
“We have many of our own members that have served in the military—I want to thank them all very much.
“So, from those of us that have worn boots, we take a look at this legislation and find ways that we can better support those who serve.
“In the Senate, members of our military, families, and veterans, you have our support. You have our gratitude, not only today, but every day.
“And I know the folks back home in Iowa feel the same.
“So for all us, to all of you that have worn the uniform, and those that have supported those who have worn the uniform, thank you for your service and God bless you. God bless our great state of Iowa, God bless the great United States of America, and those men and women that make it possible to be free.”