Veterans Day

On this Veterans Day we thank the men and women of the United States armed forces, past and present, for their selfless service. We must never forget the sacrifices they and their families have made.

Sadly, Vermont has seen more than its share of service members killed in action during the past decade. We have monuments and memorials throughout our state honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, but theirs is a debt we can never fully repay. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to their families and friends, who know that Veterans Day will always be one of reflection and remembrance of lives cut short.

Many service members have also been injured, often grievously, in the recent wars. Our thoughts and prayers are with them as well.

On this Veterans Day, we continue to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Korean War (1950 - 1953) and the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War (1962 - 1975). Veterans of these two Wars answered the nation's call to arms. Today gives us another opportunity to thank them for their honorable military service.

But words are not enough. If we are sincere about our gratitude, we must also keep the promises made to our veterans and their families in terms of benefits and services. While we have a long way to go in fulfilling those promises, I am proud that as a member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee we have made some real progress in addressing our obligations to veterans.

Working with the Vermont National Guard, we have secured major funding to develop and build upon a cutting-edge outreach program in Vermont to provide proactive assistance to returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.

I am also pleased that we have been able to open or expand VA Community Based Outreach Clinics in Colchester, Rutland, Newport, Brattleboro and Bennington. Last month I attended a ceremony to mark the opening of a Women's Comprehensive Care Center in White River Junction, a facility that will provide quality medical care to the Vermont women who have bravely served our country. On these and other projects, I look forward to working with and supporting the Vermont veterans' community.

Finally, we must remember it is not just the soldiers who make a sacrifice when they leave for service. President Obama has declared November to be Military Family Month. For over a decade, we have seen and supported Vermonters deployed overseas to support military operations around the world, and only last week the airmen from the Vermont Air National Guard departed the Green Mountain State to serve country in Afghanistan. I want to thank their spouses, children, parents and family members for their shared hardships, sacrifices and service to this nation.

Today I thank all veterans for their service to a grateful nation.

Veterans Day