We have all heard the old adage that "freedom is never free." For America's veterans, these words could not ring more true. Since the birth of our nation, millions of brave American men and women have served in the United States military. On far-flung battlefields in the jungles of Vietnam, to the beachheads of Normandy and ships in the South Pacific, to the mountains of Afghanistan and the deserts of Iraq and at installations both at home and abroad, American soldiers have long protected our fellow citizens and advanced the ideals of freedom and democracy around the world.
This week, as we gather at parades, wreath laying services, and other events throughout the Sixth District, we will pause to remember the service and sacrifice of America's veterans. But this is not something we should remember just one day each year. These men and women hit the "pause button" on their own lives when duty called. They've been shipped overseas just before a holiday or birth of a child. They've spent years away from their loved ones, and have returned, many of them -- injured both physically and emotionally. And they made all of these sacrifices to protect our freedoms as Americans. Our veterans deserve our deepest gratitude and respect every day.
Because of their sacrifices, America owes our returning veterans the care and support necessary to help heal their wounds, transform their skills learned in service to jobs here at home, and give them the educational tools they need to succeed. We have made significant strides to better meet the needs of our veterans, but our work is not finished.
Just a few weeks ago, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2189 with bipartisan support, which would create a commission within the Department of Veterans Affairs to evaluate the growing backlog of veterans' disability claims and identify solutions to deal with the backlog by 2015. It is critical that these claims be processed in the timely manner our veterans deserve. I will continue to work with all Members of Congress to ensure that we keep our commitment to the men and women who have served this nation and ensure that America's veterans receive the recognition and benefits they have bravely earned.
On this Veterans Day, I ask you to join me in reflecting and taking a moment to thank the members of our Armed Forces past and present. I also ask that you continue to keep these brave Americans in your thoughts and prayers not just during this time of year, but every day. For generations, they have made countless sacrifices so that we could live freely under the Stars and Stripes. I am grateful for the service of those who have defended our nation on foreign soil and valiantly stood guard over the principles of freedom and liberty at the core of this nation.