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Permitting Use of Capitol Rotunda for a Ceremony to Commemoreate the 75th Anniversary of the Department of Veterans Affairs

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC


PERMITTING USE OF CAPITOL ROTUNDA FOR A CEREMONY TO COMMEMORATE THE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of House Concurrent Resolution 427, authorizing the use of the Capitol rotunda on July 19 of this year for a ceremony to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of the Department of Veterans Affairs. As my colleagues are well aware, Congress must pass a concurrent resolution to use the Capitol rotunda, the respected location of America's historic ceremonies.

I want to thank the gentleman from Indiana for introducing this resolution.

This event will mark the 75th anniversary of the Department of VA in which Congress will use the historic rotunda location to commemorate the service of the VA professionals who provide Federal benefits to veterans and their families.

On July 21, 1930, President Hoover issued an executive order to consolidate various veterans programs to create the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has grown from an organization of 48 hospitals and 30,000 employees into the Nation's second largest Federal agency. Today, the VA employs over 237,000 professionals, is comprised of 157 hospitals and over 850 community-based clinics, provides pensions and disability compensation to more than 3.4 million veterans, and provides a dignified and permanent resting place at the 120 national cemeteries that honor the men and women who served in our Nation's military.

The responsibility to care for veterans, spouses, survivors and dependents can last a long time. For example, five children of Civil War veterans still draw VA benefits. About 440 children and widows of Spanish-American War veterans still receive VA compensation or pensions. Also currently receiving VA benefits are nearly 160,000 survivors of Vietnam-era veterans and over 256,000 survivors of World War II veterans.

Approximately 63 million people are potentially eligible for VA benefits and services because they are veterans, family members or survivors of veterans. More than half of the citizen soldiers who have ever served in uniform throughout our Nation's history are living today, 25 million of whom are living veterans to whom we owe the greatest debt for our freedom.

Madam Speaker, this celebration honors our veterans' sacrifice and dignifies the cause they served by commemorating the very people who serve them.

I urge my colleagues to join me in honoring the 75 years of dutiful service the Department of Veterans Affairs has provided to our Nation's veterans by supporting passage of this concurrent resolution.

Madam Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I just wanted to mention, yesterday I had the occasion with Senator Menendez to be at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in New Jersey, which is actually in my home county; and it was amazing to me not only was the memorial such a beautiful place to visit. They had an educational center there, and there were so many veterans that just man the place on a voluntary basis just because of their dedication.

It just shows me how so many years after the Vietnam War, many years after other wars, we still have the dedication on the part of our veterans that just volunteer their time and their service just because they believe so strongly in the cause, and in this case, the memorial that represents the sacrifice of Vietnam veterans.

So I just wanted to mention that in conjunction with this service and the resolution that we are about to pass.

Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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