Every November 11th we celebrate the men and women who defend our freedom – past and present. While November 11 was originally known as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I, we now commemorate all United States veterans on this day.
This year I had the opportunity to attend two Veterans Day celebrations; at Gering Junior High School, and at our local American Legion Post #36. I appreciated visiting with young people who will someday determine our future and with the heroes who have made their mark in support of our country.
As we reflect on Veterans Day, it is also important to remember this year marked the 75th anniversary of D-Day. On June 6th, 1944, while Hitler held all of Europe in the clutches of his terror, America and our allies struck back, staging the largest ever invasion by sea. D-Day marked a turning point in the war and a milestone in history. Thousands of courageous Americans laid down their lives so that others may live free.
Sadly, out of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II, only two percent remain with us today. It is our duty to keep their stories alive. One great way to do ensure their valor is remembered through the Veterans History Project. The Veterans History Project was created to collect, preserve, and make accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans from all United States conflicts.
Last week, my office hosted an event where volunteers could receive hands-on training on how to properly record oral history and how to collect memoirs, photos, and other documents for the Veterans History Project. Even if you were not able to attend, you can still participate. For more details, please visit the Library of Congress website: www.loc.gov/vets/
In addition, my office is collecting cards for the Red Cross Holidays for Heroes program. The Holidays for Heroes program is a great way to show gratitude and send greetings to service members and their families. If you wish to join us in this effort, please drop off your cards without postage to my Grand Island or Scottsbluff offices by Monday, December 2.
Any veteran in need of assistance with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is encouraged to contact my office. Dealing with the VA and other federal agencies can be frustrating, and my staff may be able to help resolve a problem or get the information needed. So far this year, my staff has successfully closed 42 VA cases.
Veterans Day is a celebration of the greatness of our nation. We salute and celebrate the heroes who have served in the military. America is great because of our armed forces, who make it possible for us to enjoy the freedoms we exercise every day. Be sure to thank the veterans you meet, and let’s keep those currently defending our freedom overseas in our thoughts and prayers.