As Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, U.S. Senator Jon Tester delivered the Weekly Democratic Address honoring America’s veterans.
Tester’s remarks are as follows:
“On Veterans Day, we pause to remember and honor the enduring sacrifice of our men and women in uniform and their families – the bravery they showed in service to our nation – and the unwavering responsibility we have to them when they return from war.
From the Greatest Generation of World War Two to the veterans of Vietnam and Korea, those who came before us courageously defended our freedoms and helped make America the nation it is today.
And now, after more than a decade entangled in military conflicts across the globe, there is a generation of younger service members who have been deployed time and again, and know nothing but war and conflict.
While these men and women represent the very best our nation has to offer, these battles have taken their toll.
The tragic loss of life. The physical injuries that plague those who return.
The unseen wounds that haunt their lives.
The responsibility to care for them – and our obligation to them as taxpayers.
There is no doubt that serving our veterans and their families is a cost of war.
And the services and benefits that they earned mark our nation’s strength, just as much as the military might we show around the world.
That’s why we must guarantee that the VA has the resources it needs to serve veterans from Alzada, Montana, to Atlanta, Georgia.
And when it doesn’t make sense for a veteran to go to the VA, we must ensure that they have timely access to care in their communities, no matter where they live.
In our quest to deliver on our promises, we cannot let those who want to privatize the VA prevail.
Privatization is not just expensive. It’s a shirking of our responsibility as a nation. It’s a breaking of a promise to our veterans. And it’s a disservice to veterans who live in rural places like my home – the great state of Montana.
That’s why we will put politics aside and work together to make sure that all veterans receive the very best care and assistance that they have earned.
When veterans suffer from the unseen wounds of war, we must ensure they can access mental health care. And we must do whatever it takes to end the unacceptable and heartbreaking frequency of suicide.
When our military men and women want a better education, we must ensure they can earn a degree.
When our veterans are ready to transition from military service to civilian life, we must ensure they have a good paying job and a safe place to call home.
And when our veterans get lost in the VA bureaucracy, we must hold our government accountable to deliver.
Honoring the men and women who serve us is not a partisan issue, it is a bipartisan responsibility.
God bless our men and women in uniform, past, present, and future. On this Veterans Day. And every day.”