Remembering the fallen


Each year on the last Monday in May we set aside a special time to remember those lost in defense of our great nation. These brave men and women are owed a supreme debt of gratitude by each and every American who enjoys the freedoms afforded by our way of life.

I urge you to take time as you spend Memorial Day weekend with friends and family to remember those who will never come home. While there is nothing we can do to lessen their suffering, I make it a point to thank their families who are most impacted by the absence of our fallen heroes.

In order to honor the veterans who are fortunate enough to rejoin us after their service, we should do everything in our power to ensure they are adequately cared for. Though we can never repay the debt we owe them, I have been honored to express a small token of our appreciation by sharing our nation’s history with them in Washington, D.C.

Just this month, Senator Fischer and I greeted a veteran group of more than 100 at the U.S. Capitol for an after-hours tour. These tours impact me because we get to spend time with our Nebraska veterans on a personal level. My staff and I enjoy hearing their stories as we take in the Capitol Rotunda, Statuary Hall, and the House Chamber.

My grandfather served as a Navy Seabee in the South Pacific during World War II and his dedication to serving our country is what inspired me to enter public service. I try to honor him in everything I do.

This month, I was happy to vote to strengthen the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to receive VA funded care from community providers rather than having to travel a great distance to a VA clinic. While this program is far from perfect, I will continue to support expanded access to healthcare for rural veterans. I also participate in a number of initiatives in addition to supporting legislation that benefits our veterans.

I serve as co-chairman of the Rural Veterans Caucus through which we consider the best ways to advocate for our heroes in rural America. My office participates in the Veterans History Project, where we work to chronicle the stories of Nebraska veterans to be included in the Library of Congress.

In order to provide an opportunity for young people in Nebraska to learn more about the U.S. service academies and other opportunities for military service, I join with U.S. Senators Fischer and Sasse each year to hold the Third District Academy Day.

Taking place this year on Friday, June 1, our event will feature representatives from the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, and Army ROTC to provide information and answer questions.

This is the first year we will be offering an online webinar for students and parents who are unable to make the drive to Grand Island. For more information on Academy Day, please call my Grand Island office at 308-384-3900.

Memorial Day is rightfully held among our most sacred holidays and we should all take the time to remember those who gave their last full measure to protect the American way of life. Let us honor them as a grateful nation and forever be a legacy befitting their sacrifice.

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