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Saluting our veterans

November 11, 2018

Veterans Day, which was originally known as Armistice Day, marks the anniversary of the end of World War 1, which ended at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. 2018 represents its 100-year anniversary. In 1954, Congress expanded the holiday to honor not only the sacrifices of those who fought in World War 1, but all of our veterans, and renamed it Veterans Day.

We sometimes confuse it with Memorial Day, which takes place in May, but the purpose of Memorial Day is to remember specifically those who lost their lives in service to our country. Given the sacrifices of so many brave men and women on our behalf, it is important that we do our best to honor and serve them, which is why I serve as co-chairman of the Rural Veterans Caucus in the House of Representatives.

We look for ways to support our veterans such as the VA Accountability Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law last year. This landmark legislation provides the VA Secretary increased flexibility to remove VA employees for poor performance or misconduct, while also strengthening whistleblower protections. Creating a culture of accountability at the VA is the first step to bringing lasting reforms to the department. We need to rebuild veterans’ trust in the VA and make it clear we’re putting them first.

We also passed the HIRE Vets Act to incentivize companies to hire veterans. Those who put their lives on the line to defend our freedom should not struggle to find employment when they return home. With this bill, employers large and small will be recognized for their efforts to hire and retain veterans.

A third, the Forever GI Bill, eliminated the 15-year time limit for veterans to use their GI bill benefits and cut down on red tape. With the ability to attend college at any time in their lives, veterans will have greater opportunities for professional development. It also provides flexibility for veterans to make the best education choices for themselves and their families.

Additionally, my office participates in the Veterans History Project, whose purpose is to chronicle the stories of Nebraska veterans to be included in the Library of Congress for the education of future generations. If you’d like more information on this program, please let my office know so we can get you connected.

My grandfather was a U.S. Navy Seabee in World War II, and his service inspired me to serve my community. He was one of 325,000 Seabees recruited in World War II to build naval bases throughout the globe. Many of us call the United States the “land of the free and home of the brave,” but I prefer “land of the free because of the brave.” Be sure to thank a veteran for their sacrifice this week.

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