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From U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s remarks for Veteran’s Day 2009
Each Veterans Day is a solemn occasion when we, as a nation, reflect and show gratitude to those who have served or are currently serving in our military. But today is an especially difficult Veterans Day, as we honor the men and women who were killed or wounded last week at Ft. Hood Army Base in Texas. I extend my condolences to the families and friends of those who lost their lives or were hurt in this terrible act of violence. We must take every precaution to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. On this Veterans Day, I’d especially like to thank New Mexico’s veterans for their commitment to protect our country and its interests. New Mexico has a long and proud history of military service, and we are honored to have some of you among us today, who now serve as living testaments to American bravery.
This bravery has been exhibited by those who fought for the Union in the Civil War at Glorieta Pass, by the National Guardsmen who were captured at Bataan and the Navajo codetalkers who safeguarded our military secrets. New Mexicans have displayed their courage defending our country on the frozen steppes of Korea, in the jungles of Vietnam and the desert sands of the first Gulf War. And today, this tradition lives on, in Afghanistan and Iraq and in countless other countries where our sons and daughters are currently deployed.
While the needs may be different, America’s solemn obligation to our veterans holds true regardless of whether one served in WWII, Vietnam or has only recently returned from a tour of duty. All veterans deserve accessible and affordable healthcare, full payment of benefits and the opportunity to receive a quality education.
For every American, as we honor the service of all our veterans today, let us not limit the celebration of their sacrifice to one day a year. Their service was not limited to one 24-hour period; nor should we limit our respect and gratitude to this day alone. To this end, I pledge to continue my work in the Senate to ensure our veterans receive the benefits that they fully deserve. And in closing, I again extend my sincere thanks to our veterans and their families for all the sacrifices they have made. I stand ready to assist you in any way that I can.