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Senator Young Delivers Floor Speech Ahead of Veterans Day

November 8, 2019
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Senator Young House Floor 12-13-18U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) spoke on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon ahead of Veterans Day. He shared the stories of two Hoosier veterans – Lance Corporal Alec Terwiske, a Marine killed in Afghanistan, and Robert Egli, a World War II veteran whose family received a Bronze Star on his behalf.

Senator Young also highlighted his legislation to assist veterans, including the VA Mission Act and the Veterans Expedited TSA Screening (VETS) Safe Travel Act.  In a recent op-ed, Senator Young shared more of his thoughts on why Veterans Day is so important.

Click here to watch Senator Young’s floor speech.

Remarks as prepared for delivery:

In August, I traveled to a tiny diner in Auburn, Indiana, to present a military service medal that was nearly 75 years in the making.

Over the last few months, I’ve thought a lot about that moment at Sandra D’s Café and what it meant to me.

As we approach Veterans Day, I’d like to share those lessons.

Serving in the military for 10 years, I’ve seen firsthand the sacrifices our men and women in uniform make, and learned just how much sacrifice is required of our troops.

In the Marine Corps our slogan is Semper Fidelis, meaning ‘always faithful’, to our nation and to those who protect it.

That’s why I wear a memorial bracelet around my wrist.

The bracelet honors Lance Corporal Alec Terwiske. Alec was a fellow Marine from the small town of Dubois, Indiana. On September 3, 2012, Alec was tragically killed in Afghanistan. His mom Sandy asked me to wear this bracelet to honor his memory, and I do so proudly every day.

It takes a special person to take up arms in defense of our country, a belief in a cause greater than oneself.

That very belief makes me think back to that café in Auburn. Sandra D’s father, Robert Egli, was a World War II veteran who survived the war. He lived a long and happy life back home in Indiana. And I was proud to help Sandra recover her father’s missing Bronze Star.

During a battle in the Second World War, Robert’s unit saved the lives of 511 American prisoners of war in the Pacific Theater. His actions allowed them to return home, marry their sweethearts, start a family, and live the American dream. Now, those hundreds of Americans have children and grandchildren who are alive today as a result of his beautiful act of courage, patriotism, and sacrifice.

For these reasons and more, we must never stop working to ensure our veterans receive the respect that they deserve. This includes ensuring our veterans receive the care they are due after they return home.

The Senate has already taken up, and passed, many pieces of bipartisan, common-sense legislation, including the VA MISSION Act, which I cosponsored and was proud to see become law.  This law dramatically improved the way our veterans receive care.

We have also taken steps to speed up the appeals process for veterans through the VA Appeals Modernization Act, and to improve the way our veterans are cared for in nursing homes, and provide urgently needed support for veterans who may be contemplating suicide.

This year, I have also introduced the VETS Safe Travel Act to provide TSA PreCheck benefits to those veterans who have been severely wounded on the battlefield. The VETS Safe Travel Act would help 70,000 amputees, 100,000 paralyzed, and 130,000 blind veterans, who are currently subjected to a rigorous and demeaning screening process when traveling.

Unfortunately, this legislation has been languishing in the House, and its delay means veterans in need are left waiting. Before the House takes another recess week, they should take up and pass this legislation. Our veterans have more than earned it.

We have made significant strides for our veterans in recent years, but we must always keep striving to do more.

George Washington said, “The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war – no matter how justified – shall be directly proportional as to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.”

This Veterans Day, and every day, I encourage you to remember and thank our veterans. God bless America.

 

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