As a proud American, I am grateful every day for the freedom and liberty that our great nation affords us all. This freedom would not exist without the brave men and women that have deftly and proudly served our country at home and around the world. Defending the United States' interests is no easy task, and as Americans we owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to those who have fought to maintain our nation's position as a champion of democracy. Throughout my time in Congress, I have never lost sight of who truly and humbly works to defend our freedoms -- our veterans.
I am no stranger to the hardships that military families face. My husband, Dexter, served in Vietnam as a U.S. Army Ranger, earning a Purple Heart. My step-son, Douglas, and his wife, Lindsay, serve as Marine Corps aviators, both having served tours in Iraq with Lindsay also serving a tour in Afghanistan. I could not be prouder of them or their fellow veterans, and have the highest respect for the families who support them at home. My family and I know the courage and resolve that is required in order to dedicate one's life to the service of others, and are thankful for their devotion to our nation.
Because of my personal experience with the military and my deep gratitude for those, known and unknown, who have fought for our cherished freedoms, I am committed to the cause of veterans everywhere, and have worked tirelessly to serve them. I recognize that we can never repay our patriots for the freedom they have fought for, but we must certainly try.
It is imperative that we keep in our hearts and minds all those who have fallen, and reflect in our actions our gratitude to all those who have sacrificed so much for our nation. As our brave men and women in uniform have fought for our rights, I will continue to fight for theirs. I urge all Americans to never forget the source of their security and liberty, as doing such would devalue the marvelous gift that servicemen and women have given us.