At the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month, we pause and reflect on all the men and women who have served our country.
Our freedom comes at a great price, and we owe our gratitude to everyone who accepts the call of duty and defends our nation at home and abroad.
In honor of Veterans Day, House Republicans met with veterans, celebrated their lives, and shared their stories.
Here are some of the highlights:
Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) via FoxNews.com: As a combat-injured veteran, I ask all Americans to help address invisible injuries of war
This Veterans Day, however, I now know that I was one of the lucky ones. My injuries were visible – plain for all to see. I was the beneficiary of endless support from doctors, people in our community and veterans organizations that helped me through recovery and helped me to realize I was still only limited by my own drive, grit and determination.
When people see my two legs are missing, they know immediately the assistance I need – help down a step, a cane, or a friendly shoulder to lean on. The kindness of everyone – even complete strangers – brings me feelings of immense gratitude.
But many scars of our nation’s wounded warriors are not visible. The recurring memories of an intense moment of combat, the damp feeling of a friend’s blood soaking your own uniform, and the sound of a brother’s last gasp of air will stay with me and my fellow warriors all our lives.
Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) in the Florida Times-Union: Congress works in bipartisan fashion for veterans
As the son of Navy Chief James A. Rutherford Sr. and the son-in-law of Marine Sgt. Joseph Michael Carroll, both of whom served during World War II and the Korean War, I have always lived in awe of their service.
If you ask veterans why they served, you will not get a response of self-interest or praise. You will hear men and women tell stories of devotion to community and country. They chose to defend and expand liberty across the world. It is ingrained in the fabric of who they are.
Even through decades of deployments and conflict, we as a people must never grow weary of showing the greatest respect to those who sacrifice the most.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) in the Journal Gazette: Promises to keep to those who served
On Veterans Day, we say thank you to those who have worn the uniform of the United States, and we acknowledge the sacrifices of both those who serve and their loved ones. Our veterans deserve the utmost respect, and part of that respect means fulfilling the promises made to them.
Today, the United States is home to 21 million veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs provides health care for 62 percent of vets. Similarly, 773,000 of them depend on the GI Bill to pursue higher education.
As we have learned in recent years, too many VA facilities have struggled with extraordinarily long wait times, mismanagement, employee misconduct and poor customer service. It is imperative that Congress prioritize our veterans and improve the care and benefits they receive.
Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS) on GOP.gov: Veterans Day is about remembering sacrifice
We live in the greatest nation on earth, enjoying freedoms won and maintained by the service of our veterans. Since the first citizen-soldiers fired the “shot heard around the world” on the Lexington Common, millions of Americans have dutifully answered their nation’s call by risking everything in the defense of liberty. Their sacrifice warrants our respect, and they deserve our support…Wherever you live, take the opportunity to attend a Veterans Day event or simply shake the hand of a veteran and thank him or her for their service. If you can, seek out the spouse or family member of a veteran for the quiet sacrifices that they have made for our nation. They deserve our gratitude as well.
Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR) on GOP.gov: On Veterans Day, we honor you and we thank you
Our military is, and will continue to be, the most feared and respected in the entire world. A well-trained, well-equipped, and well-resourced military helps ensure peace both over-seas and right here in our homeland.
The House of Representatives has worked tirelessly to keep our promises to our veterans. This year, we demanded accountability so employees at the VA can be fired, demoted, or suspended for not doing their jobs properly. For those brave men and women currently serving, we increased defense funding to counter threats and enhance our military readiness. We also provided service members with their biggest pay raise in eight years.
We take defense of this country very seriously.
Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) on GOP.gov: Serving those who served our country
Because veterans have served us, it’s important for us to serve and remember them. It’s a social contract that these folks grew up with: you help your neighbor, your teammate, your fellow soldiers because you know the same courtesy and respect would be shown to you in an hour of need. But often that contract isn’t remembered, is poorly executed, or is broken outright. Back home I hear stories all the time of inadequate equipment in the field, long wait times, subpar or even negligent medical care. The list goes on.
The silver lining is that the House of Representatives has pushed hard this year to repair that contract of service that our nation has with its veteran community, both active duty and retired.
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) Statement:
“One of the greatest privileges Katie and I have is greeting our World War II veterans as they depart on their honor flight to our nation’s capital to visit their memorial, and greeting them in Washington DC, as they arrive on the National Mall. Their courage, and that of veterans since, has helped change the course of history and has protected America and the freedoms we hold dear.
“On Veterans Day we salute our brave men and women in uniform, and their families, for their service to our nation and their dedication to defending our freedoms. It’s the responsibility of this country to make sure that our veterans are cared for while they are actively serving and in their retirement. We owe it to our service members, past and present, and their families, for their sacrifices and commitment to our nation.”