Columns

Blaine's Bulletin: Memorial Day

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Washington, May 26, 2017 | comments
Memorial Day is a time when Americans come together to honor, celebrate and remember the men and women who have given their lives to defend our great country and protect our freedoms.
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Memorial Day is a time when Americans come together to honor, celebrate and remember the men and women who have given their lives to defend our great country and protect our freedoms.  

It’s hard to imagine exactly what kind of bravery and sacrifice it takes to put oneself in harm’s way for your country. The other evening, I was honored to be a guest at the United States Army Twilight Tattoo in Arlington, Virginia. Twilight Tattoo is a live military pageant that features soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as “The Old Guard” and the U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.” During the hour long event, we got a glimpse into American history through performances by U.S. Army bands, vocalists, and the drill team. During the event, I thought about our nation’s military veterans and active duty personnel and unless you have walked in their boots, it is difficult to fully understand their experiences and what they have been through. It was a gentle reminder, and humbling experience, that we owe so much to these individuals for their service. What made this event even more special is that Montgomery County Middle School performed for the audience. There were 45 students who participated and it was great to see Missouri represented so well at this wonderful military pageant.

We must also remember to thank another special group of Americans: our nation’s veterans. They are the reason that our nation stands as a shining example for other freedom loving countries around the world. This week, the House of Representatives passed several bills to streamline and modernize the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and its programs and procedures. One important bill the House passed was the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act. Currently, it takes the VA approximately five years to resolve the backlog of appeals that are currently pending. That is almost 500,000 appeals from veterans who are waiting for resolution. This legislation would create three “lanes” for veterans appeals and it would streamline the process so the VA can give our nation’s veterans the certainty they deserve.

Lastly, earlier this month, I was privileged to serve as the keynote speaker at the dedication of our state’s first memorial honoring disabled veterans in Union.The city of Union should be incredibly proud of this impressive memorial. Few have given more to American than our disabled veterans.

Elmer Davis, the great World War II journalist and three-time Peabody award winner once said “this national will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave.”

It does not matter whether those individuals were on the front lines or worked from behind the scenes. The sacrifices that were made are truly insurmountable and that is what we should remember on this Memorial Day. 

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