Each Nov. 11, America takes time to honor and remember those who have put their lives on the line in the defense of this great nation.
Without the great sacrifice of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, America could not be the strongest nation in the world, nor could we enjoy the many freedoms we do today.
President Ronald Reagan put it best: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
While it is right and good that we set aside a day for our veterans, we as Americans should work to honor them every day.
That starts with ensuring our troops never face a fair fight. Instead, they should have the benefit of the strongest armor, fastest planes and most-accurate bullets and missiles in the world. Our troops also should have the best training and the highest-quality care.
Our commitment to the men and women who serve this country cannot waver when they come home and transition out of military service.
The current backlog of disability claims at the Veterans Administration is completely unacceptable. Earlier this year, the House unanimously adopted my amendment to cut the pay of senior officials at the VA if they fail to cut the backlog in half.
Last week, the House adopted another measure that would create a task force charged with identifying the root causes of the backlog, eliminating it and ensuring something like this never will happen again.
We also must work toward full employment for our veterans. From transition assistance to job training and placement, the men and women who have served are uniquely qualified to lead in the private sector. As we work to grow our economy, we must ensure we are taking advantage of their unique skills.
In Georgia, we have the great benefit and blessing of hosting every branch of service within our state. We literally live among heroes. Therefore it is incumbent on us more than most to — in both word and deed — take a moment every day to say two all-important words to our veterans: “Thank you.”
Kingston serves the 1st Congressional District of Georgia, which includes Bryan County.