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Recognizing veterans’ sacrifices

As we commemorate Veterans Day, we remember with gratitude all those brave service members who have courageously fought to preserve our freedoms. We gather as a nation to honor and pay tribute to those who have selflessly served. I hope you will join me in thanking all of our veterans — plus our troops both at home and abroad — who have given so much to defend this great nation. I look forward to attending Veterans Day programs in the Fifth District that offer an opportunity to show our respect and commitment to veterans from our local communities. I encourage you to seek out such events in your area.

During the past year, we have partnered with local veterans groups across the Fifth District to offer recognition to a group of veterans that has not always received the recognition they deserve: those who served in Vietnam. That conflict commenced 50 years ago, and while it was marked by controversy and tension at the time, it does not diminish in any way the great sacrifices this generation of veterans made. They were no less brave or committed to our country, and they are no less deserving of our respect and recognition than any other serviceman who has put on the uniform to defend and protect the U.S. It has been my honor to recognize Vietnam veterans as part of this 50th anniversary commemoration and use this occasion to reflect on the history of that time period.

Veterans Day also serves as a reminder that we owe all of our heroes a level of care and service worthy of their sacrifice, and while we have made progress in restoring our ability to fulfill that promise, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) continues to be plagued by mismanagement negatively impacting our veterans. Ultimately, it is the president who bears the responsibility of changing the course of this agency as our commander-in-chief, and he has not done enough to remedy these urgent issues. The incoming administration must wholeheartedly dedicate itself to right the wrongs of the VA and show our veterans the compassion and dedication they so deserve.

We must renew our commitment to care for those who have served and pledge to maintain that commitment to those who will answer the call to serve in the future. We must be diligent in our effort to change the culture of the VA so it can return to fulfilling its critically important mission — our veterans deserve nothing less. I am humbled by the opportunity to serve Virginia’s Fifth District veterans, and I hope that you will join with me this Veterans Day in thanking all of those who have and continue to serve this great nation.

ROBERT HURT represents Lunenburg County in the U.S. House of Representatives. He can be reached at 434) 395-0120 or by email at hurt.house.gov.