Memorial Day an Opportunity for Reflection
May 23, 2008
by Congressman Michael Turner (OH-03)
We are very fortunate to live in the United States of America. Our country’s traditions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have remained constant for over 200 years and do still today. There are times, however, where it is important to reflect that the freedoms that we cherish and the opportunities that we enjoy came at a great cost. We have an opportunity on May 26 when we celebrate Memorial Day to commemorate the sacrifice our troops have made for us and to honor their memory.
The Third Congressional District of Ohio is home to over 60,000 veterans and thousands of active duty troops. To those troops, we owe a great debt of gratitude. Our nation has made a promise to those who have served in uniform to provide them with the best possible care when they return home from duty. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the Veterans Affairs Committee, I am committed to helping our nation fulfill that promise and have taken several steps to that effect on both the local and the national level.
Recently, I worked with the Greater Dayton Hospital Association (GDAHA) and the Dayton VA to create a task force to evaluate veterans health care in our community. The Task Force will advise the VA and the community on recommendations to strengthen healthcare for veterans in the region. The Task Force is examining the standards, budget, personnel, and facilities at the Dayton VA Medical Center. The examination is comparing the Dayton VA Medical Center with other similar sized hospitals and VA medical centers. The information gathered by the task force will allow the VA to continue their efforts to improve their ability to care for our veterans.
Congress also passed with my support the Wounded Warrior Assistance Act, a law aimed at improving VA medical care for veterans and returning service members, especially those recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. Its purpose is to prevent substandard treatment such as what was discovered at Walter Reed Army Hospital and other health care facilities last year. It is also designed to help ease the transition from military to civilian life and to ensure that our veterans have access to the highest quality health care when they return home.
While it is important to recognize the importance of our nation’s veterans, we must also be grateful for the daily sacrifices made by our nation’s active duty soldiers. I have traveled to Iraq three times and Afghanistan twice and have benefited greatly from the opportunity to meet with our soldiers. Though their morale is high, their thoughts are always with their families at home.
A high price has been paid by veterans of our nation’s armed forces throughout our history, and many of them paid the ultimate price in service to their country. Although there is no way that we can ever fully repay this debt, I encourage everyone to recognize on Memorial Day our nation’s armed forces for all they have done.
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