As we commemorate the 58th Anniversary of Veterans Day, I like to reflect on what General Douglas MacArthur said during a speech: "The soldier, above all others, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training--sacrifice." That sacrifice is embodied in the extraordinary Utahns who have worn the uniform of the United States of America.
For more than 200 years, Americans have answered duty's call. As a country we owe those who have served our gratitude every day and in particular on Veterans Day--which was first established by Congress to commemorate the Armistice, or the end of World War I. In Arlington National Cemetery, overlooking the nation's capital, a tomb was also designated after World War I to honor an unknown American soldier from that conflict and from those that followed. I believe it is fitting that to honor these soldiers' remains, an Army honor guard--the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) keeps day and night vigil.
Just as our veterans stood watch on our behalf, we have a moral obligation to support them. There are approximately 152,000 veterans living in Utah. I believe we can never say thank you enough to them for their service and for their sacrifice.
We'll never fully repay the debt we owe them. But it is with their sacrifice in mind that I have supported:
· A new GI Bill to restore the promise of a full, 4-year college education
· Giving businesses a $2,400 tax credit for hiring unemployed veterans
· New Nursing homes for veterans in Utah
· Mobil vet centers in Utah to enhance access to services; "telehealth" outreach clinics in rural areas of our state.
On the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, 58 Utahns have paid the ultimate price; over 400 have been wounded. This Veterans' Day we look forward to the return of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year. Welcoming home these heroes will make the holidays even more joyous. I will continue, in the meantime, to provide the equipment and the funding necessary for all U.S. troops to accomplish their mission and to return home safely.
I invite you to join me in thanking a veteran this month for protecting our freedom and keeping us safe.
2nd District of Utah