Honoring our veterans

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By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

This week we celebrate Veterans Day to honor the brave men and women who have nobly served our country. For those who have served, we thank you for protecting our freedoms and for those continuing to serve all over the world and here at home, we appreciate your service and dedication to defending and protecting our nation. As journalist Elmer Davis once said, “This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”


These brave, patriotic men and women have helped to liberate victims of oppression, spread democracy across the world and preserve the freedoms our nation was built upon. For these selfless actions, we in turn have a responsibility to ensure that our troops are sufficiently provided for when they return home.


In the 112th Congress, I have worked to improve veterans’ services and benefits. Earlier this year I joined the newly created bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Veterans Jobs Caucus. This Caucus was created to combat the unacceptably high rates of unemployment among our veterans. Recent estimates indicate that nearly 1 million of our veterans do not have a job.


To help address this unacceptably high rate of unemployment, Congress recently passed the Veteran Skills to Jobs Act. This legislation would direct federal agencies and departments to treat relevant military training as sufficient to satisfy training or certification requirements for federal licenses. I was proud to support this legislation that will make it easier for our veterans to get back to work when they return home and utilize the skills they have learned by streamlining the federal certification process and cutting through bureaucratic red tape.


I am also proud to be a member of the House Veterans’ Mental Health Caucus, which devotes its efforts to raising awareness of important veterans’ health needs. With mental health conditions becoming more widespread and suicide rates among veterans rapidly growing, I believe that it’s imperative that we work to meet the needs of our returning veterans who suffer from mental health problems.


Our veterans have valiantly stood guard over the principles of freedom and liberty at the core of this nation. We have made significant strides to better meet the needs of our veterans, but our work is not finished. I will continue fighting to ensure that America’s veterans receive the recognition and benefits they rightfully deserve.


On this Veterans Day, let us reflect and take a moment to thank the members of our armed services past and present. We are grateful for the sacrifices made by countless young Americans who have defended our nation on foreign soil and allowed us to enjoy the freedoms and liberties of our great country.