Op-ed: Reflections on Veterans Day

St. Helens Chronicle | November 11, 2013 

By State Rep. Brad Witt (D-Clatskanie) 

Veterans’ Day is a day to reflect on American heroes who gave their lives to keep this nation safe and protect our freedoms. In addition to honoring those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, Veterans’ Day offers us a chance to say “thank you” to those brave men and women who are still with us. We owe so much to all veterans, and that is why this day should be used to honor andsupport those who have sacrificed so much for us.

During 2013’s legislative session, as a member of the Veterans’ Services and Emergency Preparedness Committee, I worked hard to honor and support veterans including the successful passage of House Bill 2417, which funds a program aimed at keeping veterans from the cycle of homelessness. Those who serve our country should never find themselves living on the streets. This important bill makes funds available for veterans to find or keep stable housing. Veterans can access this program where we live through Community Action Team in Columbia County.

Honoring military service should not just happen one day of the year. Improving the quality and array of support available to veterans is not just a “thank you,” but a way for Oregon to help veterans face the realities of coming home to an economy that is changing at a rapid pace. This distinguished holiday reminds us all of the service and sacrifice of our military personnel and their loved ones. The symbolism and messages associated with this day are important, but we should go the extra mile for those who sacrificed so much for us. Please consider joining me in taking a moment to help veterans close to you, whether that is by helping out with a project around their house or letting them know about programs that can help them adjust to civilian life.

We are grateful to have individuals willing to serve in our armed forces and the families that support them. This Veterans’ Day, please join me in making a commitment to honor and work for those who have selflessly served our nation.