Every Memorial Day, Americans across our country join together in remembrance of the fallen heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service of our nation. Their courage and bravery helped to forge the liberties and rights with which we are so greatly blessed.
Our service men and women are truly the embodiment of the indomitable spirit that has made America a beacon of hope for all those who have ever aspired to live in a free society.
But our country's greatness has not come without cost. Those who have worn the uniform of the United States Military have time and time again put their lives on the line in defense of their country. Some laid down their lives on battlefields thousands of miles from home, while others return to their families carrying the physical and psychological wounds of war.
While we will never fully be able to repay these brave individuals for their service, we can and must live up to the commitments that America has made to its veterans. They deserve nothing less than our utmost respect and thanks.
I have been honored to join my colleagues in the House in passing thirteen bills that will better provide for America's veterans and their families. I was particularly proud to vote in favor H.R. 2646, The Veterans Health Care Facilities Capital Improvement Act of 2011, which would assist in the construction and maintenance of VA medical facilities across America. I often hear from veterans, young and old, how vital these programs are for protecting and promoting veterans' health. Too often these facilities do not get the attention and upkeep they deserve. I'm pleased to report that late last year, H.R. 2646 was signed by the president into law.
Further, I was humbled to help bring the story of Andrew P. Carpenter, a Fourth District Marine who lost his life in Afghanistan, to Washington, D.C. Since his sacrifice should not be his family's financial burden, I recently sponsored H.R. 5044, the Andrew P. Carpenter Tax Act. This bill would exempt military families from having to pay taxes on forgiven school loan debt for servicemen who lost their lives serving their country.
As you and your family enjoy the three-day Memorial Day weekend, I hope you will join me in commemorating those who have lost their life in defense of our freedom. And please take a moment to offer your thoughts and prayers for our active duty military and their families.