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November 11 is Veterans Day; Senator Lankford Honors Oklahoma Veterans on the Senate Floor

CLICK HERE to watch Lankford’s speech on the Senate floor.

 WASHINGTON, DC – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today spoke on the Senate floor to honor Oklahoma veterans ahead of Veterans Day, which the nation will recognize on Monday, November 11, 2019. Veterans Day originated from Armistice Day, which was originally a day to commemorate the end of World War I. It is now a day to honor veterans that have served at home and aboard and in war and in peach across all generations. One out of every 11 Oklahomans are veterans. Lankford highlighted the bridge dedication that will take place on Monday, November 11 in Moore, Oklahoma in honor of Lt. Damon Leehan who died while serving on tour in Afghanistan in 2011. Lankford will attend the bridge dedication.

 Lankford continues to support veterans through his work in the Senate. In June, Lankford applauded the implementation of the VA MISSION Act which includes significant reforms to improve the VA’s current healthcare delivery system and help provide veterans with more choice and fewer barriers to healthcare, such as access to health centers that are close to home. Lankford also discussed historic expansions and improvements to the GI Bill; improved the onerous disability compensation and appeals process for disabled veterans to receive the benefits; improved the quality of care at the VA; and ensured that VA providers who do not have the best interest of our veterans in mind are able to be held accountable. 

Transcript

At the end of World War I, supposedly the war to end all wars, and we all wish that it did. In the 11th hour, 11th month, 11th day we declared an armistice. The war was over. Armistice day is still recognized, but now it is called Veterans Day, and this coming Monday, 11/11, as we always do on the 11th day of the 11th month, we’ll pause as a nation and ‘say thank’ you to the men and women who are serving us in the United States military. It is the most moral, most lethal fighting force the world has ever known. And we are grateful. The men and women that make up our veterans, those serving actively, those in reserves, those serving in our national guard, those that have served both home and abroad, we’re grateful for the continuing service that they have right now and for those who have served in the past.

It has been an absolute privilege to be able to serve our veterans in Oklahoma and to be able to serve beside them. To know members of my family like my Uncle Ronnie, the marine, or whether it’s my next-door neighbor in the national guard, scattered throughout my family and throughout my own neighborhood, I get a chance to smile and say ‘thank you’ to folks on a regular basis for what they have done in the past and what they continue to do right now. With the past several sessions of Congress, this Congress has been able to work to serve our veterans and help those serving right now. Things like the MISSION Act which dramatically increase veterans’ care and the opportunity for veterans to be able to go to different places to get care. They don’t have to drive across my great state to get to a VA Center to get radiology. They can do that closer to home rather than coming to a VA Center. That’s a great asset to them and to their families. That group of folks that have sacrificed over and over and over again so their loved one can serve. They shouldn’t have to sacrifice even more now.

This Congress has done major improvements in expansion to the GI Bill. It’s been a long issue. We’ve increased the quality of care at the VA, and we’ve made sure that staff members that work at our VA Centers should be held to account. By far the majority of people that serve in our VA centers are serving for our veterans and are passionate and grateful to do that. For some that cannot get the job done, we shouldn’t give our veterans lesser care because of those individuals. Those are all things that have been done, just to say ‘thank you.’

But, it’s interesting to me the number of times that I talk to a veteran and say ‘thank you for your service’, and they will respond with something like ‘it’s the least I can do’, or ‘absolutely, or no thanks necessary’, or ‘it was my honor to do it.’ It’s a group of individuals that know what it means to serve, and we’ll continue to say ‘thanks to them’. And on this Veterans Day, I’ll pause at a bridge in Oklahoma with a family as the name of the bridge transitions to the Damon Leehan Bridge in remembrance of an Oklahoman, that, in 2011 died in Afghanistan protecting our freedom. Our veterans don’t ask for our thanks, but we can’t give them thanks enough for what they and their families have done to keep this great nation secure. Thank you to our veterans. 

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