Nov. 19, 2004
VETERANS DAY, 2004
Mr. GRAHAM of Florida. Mr. President, it is vital that we pause to remember Veterans Day, which was observed by this Nation last week. While our brave troops are protecting our freedom around the world, it is especially important that we honor those who have served before them. We owe our 25 million living veterans our heartfelt appreciation for answering the call to duty and serving this Nation in the United States Armed Forces. And, this Nation must never forget the ultimate sacrifice paid by so many of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines.
Today, as it should be, military service is being held in high regard. The ongoing events in Afghanistan and Iraq have renewed America's sense of gratitude toward the men and women of the Armed Forces for the great sacrifices they make everyday on behalf of our Nation. I personally want to thank all of our veterans and members of the Armed Forces for their selfless service to this country.
As we observe Veterans Day, let us remember that we owe our veterans our honor and respect year around. It would be truly shameful if veterans felt forgotten except for this one day per year. There must be no wavering in our commitment toward those who served in the United States Armed Forces.
I am proud to represent the State of Florida. Florida has one of the highest veteran populations in the country. I am fortunate to represent not only the almost 2 million veterans of Florida, but veterans all over this Nation. It has been my sincere pleasure and honor to serve as ranking member of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs for these past 2 years, and it is my hope that my term on the Committee has benefited those men and women who have sacrificed and served on behalf of this grateful Nation.
Throughout my tenure on this committee, I have fought very hard for improvements in benefits and services to veterans. I constantly think of Abraham Lincoln's pledge, "to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphans." It is especially fitting that in the shadow of Veterans Day comes the passage of important veterans health and benefits legislation by both Chambers of Congress. We must continue to advance benefits and health care for our Nation's bravest individuals and their families. This recently passed legislation will improve and expand a host of veterans benefits, including: survivors benefits for spouses with dependent children; housing benefits; and educational benefits for Guard and Reserve members, veterans, and spouses of veterans killed on active duty. I am proud of this legislation and hope that future Congresses continue to provide veterans with a wide array of necessary benefits and services and strive to meet their evolving needs. Our veterans deserve no less.
On Veterans Day, and everyday, we should honor those who have worn the uniforms of our Nation. They are the best of the best.