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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3)

Washington, DC—November 11, 2019….Congressman Steve Womack (AR-3), a 30-year veteran of the United States Army National Guard, penned a piece published by the Ripon Society on Veterans Day and the meaning of service to country. His reflections on this day of honor can be read below:

More than 100 years ago, at the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, World War I ended. Our nation began formally recognizing November 11th as Armistice Day, a time to honor our heroes who fought for freedom during that war.

Year after year, we celebrated this pivotal day, but it soon became clear that we needed to expand the observance. By the mid-1950s, our country had also fought through World War II and the Korean War. It was time to pay tribute to all those who served our exceptional country. Through an act of Congress, Armistice Day officially became Veterans Day.

There are many things that set America apart from all other nations, and they are embedded in our founding documents. We are a nation of the people, by the people, and for the people. We have inalienable rights and are granted from our creator life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But I believe one of our greatest differentiators is our commitment to military service which secures these values.

In America, we understand that liberty and freedom are not guaranteed. Our Constitution outlines these bedrock principles, but they are secured by the collective sacrifice of those who serve us in uniform. On Veterans Day, we honor these brave men and women.

It was out of respect for our freedom that led me to military service. It was not only a family tradition; it was a deep and abiding love of country that necessitated that I, too, needed to do my part. Now, in hindsight, I recognize the impact my thirty-plus years of National Guard service had on my life. The training. The preparation. The long hours and time away from family. The men and women with whom I served. There was little doubt that my service not only helped my country — it helped me!

The inspiration of the Soldier’s Creed is emblematic of the commitment our servicemen and women make on behalf of America.

-I will always place the mission first

-I will never accept defeat

-I will never quit

-I will never leave a fallen comrade

These are not just words, but are a non-negotiable contract with the American people that clearly demonstrates the concept of service above self.

It has made me a better Congressman. I am committed to supporting our heroes and ensuring that they are never in a fair fight.  I am committed to making certain that they are the best-manned, best-trained, and best-equipped force on the planet. I am committed, also, to their families — a true combat multiplier!  And when their service is complete, I am committed to making sure they are provided the best care possible.

Unfortunately, we fall short of that expectation on occasion. In my own district, an impaired physician jeopardized the lives of those under his care at the VA Medical Center. Many of our veterans have seen the worst of military service — the ugly side of combat. They should never face hardship from the bureaucratic institutions designed to help them.

With support from VA Secretary Robert Wilkie and my colleagues in Congress, I am hopeful that misconduct like this will be prevented with the implementation of new safeguards that will provide our veterans the quality care they have earned.

I am also dedicated to other initiatives, including programs to provide service dogs, aid in suicide prevention, bolster health care options, and assist in transitioning to civilian life. And, as Chairman of the West Point Board of Visitors, I am committed to identifying the best and brightest young men and women to serve as leaders of character in our service academies. Grooming the next generation of military leaders is very important to me.

We live in the greatest country in the history of the world. America has been a shining example of freedom because of those who serve her in uniform. To my fellow veterans, thank you and God bless you and your families!

A link to the piece can be found here.