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Honoring our American heroes

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By U.S. Rep. Tom Cole
R-Oklahoma

March 25 was National Medal of Honor Day – a special day set aside to honor those who have been awarded the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest military decoration.

National Medal of Honor Day was first declared a holiday in 1990 when President George H.W. Bush signed it into law. Since then, every year on March 25th, we have celebrated the more than 3,500 brave American heroes who have been honored with this prestigious award for embodying the six pillars of courage, sacrifice, patriotism, citizenship, integrity, and commitment.

On this National Medal of Honor Day, while reflecting on the service and sacrifice of these brave Medal of Honor recipients, I have also begun to think about the millions of other Americans who have also selflessly chosen to serve our great nation alongside these distinguished heroes.

As the son of an Air Force veteran, I grew up seeing firsthand the enormous sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make every single day. When these individuals answer the call to serve, they chose to make these tremendous sacrifices for their family and friends, as well as all Americans, even those they have never even met. They will miss holidays, weddings, funerals, and the births of their own children – and of course some will sadly pay the ultimate sacrifice. We are truly indebted to them, as it is because of their sacrifices that we are able to live our lives with a sense of safety, peace, and freedom.

As a member of the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and the representative for two military installations in Oklahoma’s Fourth District, Tinker Air Force Base and Fort Sill Army Installation, as well as several National Guard facilities, it is one of my greatest priorities in Congress to ensure that we are providing our service members with everything they need to ensure that they are prepared and ready to serve when called to action. I will always fight to make sure they are armed with the most robust equipment and weaponry to provide them with the best chance of success when they are away fighting for us.

In addition to ensuring they are provided with the best resources, we must also prioritize quality-of-life for our service members, as well as their families – and, this year, I am proud to share that we were able to secure the largest increase in basic military pay in over twenty years, as well as an additional $177 million for quality-of-life initiatives.

However, it is not enough to only support our military members while they are in uniform. We must continue to aid and assist them as veterans by fully funding the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to allow them to provide much needed medical care for our veterans and address the current shortfalls of VA medical centers across the country.

At the end of the day, as a Congress and a country, we can truly never do enough to honor those who serve us, both past and present. Our brave men and women of the armed services are some of America’s finest and are deserving of all of our appreciation.

So, to all of those who serve and have served in our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Space Force – thank you.

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Publisher's note: A free press is critical to having well-informed voters and citizens. While some news organizations opt for paid websites or costly paywalls, The Highland County Press has maintained a free newspaper and website for the last 25 years for our community. If you would like to contribute to this service, it would be greatly appreciated. Donations may be made to: The Highland County Press, P.O. Box 849, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133. Please include "for website" on the memo line.

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