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Blog: Honoring Those Who Served


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"I have said before that I think veterans are our country's royalty. We have an obligation to make sure that when these brave men and women return home, we give them everything they need to succeed in our society.

Veterans Day serves as a reminder of the debt of gratitude we owe to all our veterans for their service, bravery, and sacrifice.

To every American who has worn the uniform of this great country, thank you.

On Veterans Day we take time to remember the great sacrifice of our fallen veterans, but we should also be mindful that with our military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan drawing to a close, now more than ever we need to renew our commitment to keep our promises to the nation's more than 2 million troops and reservists, their families, and 23 million veterans.

Right now, we are not doing enough. The Labor Department estimates that 12.1 percent of veterans who served in the military since the Sept. 11 attacks were unemployed in October and among veterans under the age of 24, the rate was closer to 22 percent.

Those numbers are unacceptable.

We have to go above and beyond our current efforts and make sure our veterans have access to the full wrap-around care that they need and deserve, including economic opportunities and a chance to find meaningful employment in their communities.

Yesterday, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled a series of private sector commitments to hire 100,000 veterans by 2014. That is exactly the kind of public-private partnership that will help create job opportunities for veterans and their families and get people back to work.

I am pleased that last night, the Senate passed a bill with a provision called "Vow to Hire Heroes," which would award companies a $5,600 tax credit for each veteran they hired who had been unemployed for at least six months. I look forward to voting for the bill when it comes up in the House next week.

Here at home I recently hosted two veterans' jobs fairs to help connect veterans with job resources and local companies and my office continues to be available to assist with this effort. Please click here to get in touch with my staff.

As a community and a country, we should do all that we can to make sure that next Veterans Day we have a lower veterans unemployment rate and that we welcome them back into our homes, our communities and our lives with the dignity and honor that they deserve."

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