CONGRATULATING AND COMMENDING THE VETERANS OF FOREIGN WARS -- (House of Representatives - October 06, 2004)
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Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support to this important resolution honoring the Veterans of Foreign Wars on its 105th anniversary. I was proud to introduce this resolution with Mr. COLE of Oklahoma, and I want to express my thanks to the distinguished chairman and ranking member of the Veterans' Affairs Committee for helping move it quickly to the floor.
In the wake of the Spanish-American War and Philippine Insurrection, thousands of wounded veterans returned from war to find that there were no healthcare benefits or pensions provided for them. So, as people in the military do, they banded together to work as a team to provide care for each other by starting the Veterans of Foreign Wars organization. This believe in service to fellow veterans is the core value of the VFW, and it continues this tradition today.
The VFW now serves more than 2 ½ million American heroes who answered the call when the Nation needed them. For 105 years, the VFW has fought for increasing veterans' benefit, improving veterans' healthcare, and ensuring that America's veterans receive the recognition they deserve for their service. The VFW continues to live up to its motto every day-honoring the dead by helping the living. I am proud that the House is passing a resolution honoring such an effective and dedicated advocate for our Nation's veterans.
I am also proud that this year the Veterans of Foreign Wars will be held by a son of Tennessee and a Nashville native: VFW Commander-in-Chief John Furgess. John fought for his country in Vietnam as a young man, and when he returned he continued to serve by working for the Veterans Administration for 20 years. Over the course of his distinguished career in the VA and the Veterans of Foreign Wars, John has helped thousands of veterans get the benefits they have earned and the care they deserve. John's dedication to his country and his fellow veterans is a model for all Americans, and I look forward to seeing the VFW flourish under his leadership in the coming year.
Finally, as we look back on the 105-year record of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, it is also important to look forward. I am also proud that in congratulating the veterans of Foreign Wars we are also honoring our Nation's future veterans-the troops engaged in combat overseas today in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. The brave men and women of our Armed Forces put their lives on the line for all Americans, most of whom they have never met. There is no higher expression of selfless service than the willingness to risk one's life for others, and for the ideals that this country holds dear. The troops on the front line today-who are tomorrow's veterans-deserve our repeated thanks for serving the Nation.