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by U.S. Senator Dean Heller
Honoring Our Nation’s Heroes
This Memorial Day, our nation once again paused to pay tribute to the brave men and women in our military who made the ultimate sacrifice to keep America safe, free, and prosperous. While Memorial Day is specifically designated to honor those who have died while serving our country, it’s important that we never lose sight of the price our fallen heroes – and their loved ones – paid to defend our freedoms.
Every day that I am in Washington, D.C., I drive by the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery on my way to the U.S. Capitol. It is a humbling reminder of the valiant men and women from Nevada and across this nation who answered the call to serve in two World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan, and conflicts around the world.
Driven by courage, these men and women had moms and dads of their own. They had sons and daughters, loved ones, neighbors and friends. But they selflessly stepped up to the plate. They stood against tyranny, fought oppression and injustice, and defended liberty with the highest measure of honor, valor and courage. They demonstrated the greatest love a person can have by laying down their lives for our country.
Memorial Day also serves as a constant reminder that we need to do more to stand up for our nation’s veterans, and I believe that it is my duty and responsibility as a United States Senator to do everything I can to ensure they receive the best possible care and services this country can provide.
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) mission dates back to President Abraham Lincoln’s promise: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” It’s our duty to take care of those who have taken care of us, and as a senior member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, I am fighting every day on behalf of Nevada’s 300,000 veterans to see that the VA ascribes to its own mission and delivers the worldclass medical care veterans expect and deserve.
I continue to work with Democrats, Republicans and my colleagues on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee to improve and accelerate health care delivery and bring more transparency and accountability to the VA. For example, I just introduced bipartisan legislation to provide VA leadership the authority to fire bad actors. I also recently spoke at a hearing about the need for bipartisan solutions to address problems with the VA Choice Program in Nevada, help homeless veterans, and improve the care female veterans receive.
I believe that the greatest honor we can bestow on all of our men and women in uniform and their families is to remember their immeasurable sacrifice. While we carry on the tradition of Memorial Day, let us never forget that every day is a chance to thank and honor our patriots in uniform.
Lastly, I want to express my sincere gratitude to the families of all Nevadans who have lost their lives in the line of duty. While your pain is immeasurable, your loss will never be forgotten. I also want to thank and commend the Nevadans who are currently serving in our Armed Forces as well as their families for their sacrifice. We owe you a debt that can never be fully repaid.
May God bless our troops, and may he continue to bless our great country.