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Bakersfield Californian | November 11, 2015


The freedoms we enjoy every day are freedoms that too often we take for granted. It is hard not to.

Our daily lives are packed with meetings, school events, and doctor’s appointments. We worry about what’s for dinner, was that utility bill paid, or where do we have to take our kids after school. It is reasonable to miss that our ability to do what we love, say what we believe, pray to whom we believe, and enjoy our lives free of violent attacks is afforded to us because of the men and women who have served and defended our country.

But this week we take special time to honor these men and women. It is a day of reflection and gratitude– a day where it is impossible to overlook the indelible service of our veterans.

But beyond this day of celebration, there is a daily duty of our nation to express our gratitude and provide the support that was promised for their service. When you sit and listen to a veteran, you hear a message of service, sacrifice, commitment, and valor.

Our community is filled with the finest men and women our country has to offer. I know because they are our neighbors and friends. I have had the honor to present the highest medals of service to them. I have walked the halls of the Capitol with them during Honor Flights. We are a community that celebrates them.

Falling short in our promise to those who have given so much is simply unacceptable. In Congress, I have worked diligently to expose the cultural corruption at the Veterans Administration and the bureaucrats who have kept our veterans at bay from getting seen or receiving benefits.

We responded by passing reform legislation that provided our veterans with more health care choices and demanded more accountability.

But there our work must continue. And it will.

So on this day we recommit to serving our veterans. And when you see a veteran today, and every day, take a moment to stop what you are doing and say thanks. For our education, church service, and ability to reside in peace would not be possible if it weren’t for those who have courageously defended our country.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield is the House majority leader.

Tags: Veterans