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Friday, November 16, 2018

Honoring Our Heroes

Dear friends,

Each year, we honor our veterans on November 11, a day that marks the end of World War I when the armistice went into effect on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month. This year marked the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day and the end of World War I. I was honored to participate in a number of Veterans Day events to honor the service and sacrifice of our veterans and their families.

I delivered a floor speech on Oct. 17 to highlight the Senate’s significant bipartisan victories on behalf of our nation’s veterans, including having passed 22 pieces of veterans’ legislation since January 2017 that have all been signed into law. I also reflected on what Veterans Day means to me as a veteran and as chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. You can watch my floor remarks here. To read more about the Senate’s accomplishments, click here.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to present the Prisoner of War Medal to 96-year-old U.S. Army veteran Ralph Rumsey from Georgia. I helped secure the medal for Mr. Rumsey nearly 73 years after his release as a prisoner of World War II. This opportunity and Mr. Rumsey’s service inspired my op-ed, “World War II POW just one example of why Senate’s work to help veterans is vital,” which was published in the Macon Telegraph on Veterans Day. To read my words reflecting on Veterans Day and thanking our men and women in uniform, click here.

On Oct. 24, I had the privilege of presenting Jennifer Gerding with a U.S. flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in memory of her father, William Carroll, a U.S. Army veteran of World War II and the Korean War who was awarded two Silver Stars, a Bronze Star, and two Purple Hearts for his service.

Also on Oct. 24, I was honored to receive the ‘Harry S. Truman Award’ from the National Guard Association of the United States, the association’s highest honor. I was selected to receive this year’s award for my efforts to introduce and shepherd through Congress the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017 to improve veterans’ education benefits and enhance the post-9/11 G.I. Bill.

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, I participated in a dedication ceremony in Douglasville, Ga., for a home that was built for U.S. Navy veteran Marilyn Clark and her family by the Northwest Metro Atlanta Habitat for Humanity as part of its Veterans Build program. This is the second house to be dedicated in Veterans Place, the first-ever all veteran Habitat neighborhood in the state of Georgia; and only one of two in the country. Read more about this special occasion here.

  

On Tuesday, Nov. 13, I participated in Johnson Ferry Baptist’s Veterans Appreciation Lunch in Marietta, Ga., where I delivered keynote remarks to more than 150 attendees who included active duty and retired service members, veterans and their families.

And on Wednesday, Nov. 14, I hosted the third annual Senate veterans appreciation reception in Washington, D.C., honoring members of Congress and staff who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. armed services.

In Other News

  • This week, the Senate passed a resolution Senator David Perdue and I reintroduced that urges caution on roadways during the holiday season. The resolution designates the Sunday after Thanksgiving as “Drive Safer Sunday,” which falls on Nov. 25 this year. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is among the busiest highway traffic days of the year and provides an opportunity to remind drivers to use extra caution throughout the season. Our law enforcement officials and first responders are working hard to keep us safe, and we can each do our part to help each other. I wish all Georgians a safe and happy holiday season.
  • On Thursday, the Senate passed a bill I introduced with Senator David Perdue to designate a United States Post Office in Columbus, Ga., as the “Richard W. Williams, Jr., Chapter of the Triple Nickles (555th P.I.A.) Post Office.” The service members of the Richard W. Williams, Jr., Chapter of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, better known as Triple Nickles, served with distinction and honor in this unit and beyond, and I’m glad to know we are one step closer to renaming this Columbus post office in their honor. As the nation’s first all-black parachute unit, these heroes courageously protected and defended our country throughout the 20th century, and I am glad to have the opportunity to thank them for their selfless actions and distinguished service.
  • On Thursday, President Donald Trump delivered a national address in which he highlighted the major bipartisan accomplishments made by Congress on behalf of veterans. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I’m proud of all that we have accomplished on behalf of our nation’s veterans, and I thank President Trump for his unwavering support. Since President Trump took office, we have improved accountability at the VA, we’ve made it so veterans will be able to choose when and where they receive care that best fits their needs, we’ve overhauled the appeals system to make sure veterans get timely responses and we have provided the tools to make the VA more responsive to the veterans it serves. We’ve worked hard from day one because our veterans should be a top priority, and they have been for the Senate and for President Trump and his administration.
  • On Thursday, I was pleased the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis will be the first conditions included in the National Neurological Conditions Surveillance System, part of the 21st Century Cures Act, to advance research on these and other neurological conditions that affect so many lives. We’ve worked for some time to ensure the creation and funding for this important project.

What’s on Tap?

The Senate will return to session on Monday, Nov. 26, following the Thanksgiving holiday. Dianne and I wish everyone a safe, happy and blessed Thanksgiving.

Sincerely,

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