With today being Veterans Day, Congress and most government offices are closed. Still, just like many of Americans, Congress and the President continue to keep present and future veterans in their thoughts.
On Sunday, President Bush delivered a speech in Austin, Texas honoring those who have fallen in Iraq. During this speech, the President assured the families of the fallen soliders that, “their sacrifice will not be in vain.” Calling the troops in Iraq “tomorrow’s veterans”, President Bush detailed how the troops in Iraq are helping to ensure that, by fighting enemies in their home countries, attacks such as those that took place on 9/11 will not happen on American soil again. The President praised the soldiers in Iraq for their work in protecting our country, the veterans of previous wars for their examples set in serving their country, and the families of all for their support of those who have served and are currently serving their country.
As for Congress, prior to leaving for the Veterans Day break, Congress had written a letter to the President indicating the importance of opening communication over how to resolve issues regarding spending for the military. Last week, Congress had sent a health, education and labor bill to the President; according to the New York Times, this bill also included millions of dollars to be allocated for employment and rehabilitation for veterans. It is expected that President Bush will veto this bill as the allocation of funds exceeds his proposed budget by almost ten billion dollars.
Congress is also in the process of considering a fifty billion dollar measure to provide funding for the war in Iraq. Part of the goal of this measure is to set a deadline for troop withdrawal for December, 2008. As Democrats and Republicans appear divided over the measure, it was decided to postpone consideration of the measure in light of the Veterans Day weekend. “Democrats already uneasy about the measure argued that fighting with Republicans over troop withdrawals might not be the best way to head into the holiday weekend given all the effort Democrats have put into courting the veterans constituency.” The measure may not be considered now until December.
It seems that Veterans Day has put the men and women of the armed forces in the forefront of all our minds, as it rightfully should. Hopefully, President Bush’s statements as to the necessity of the war in Iraq prove true and prevent any further attacks on U.S. soil, and that any death of any U.S. soldier in any war is not in vain. It is also hoped that Congress and the President can work together to ensure proper care for veterans as needed once their service is completed, and can work together to ensure the safety and withdrawal of troops from Iraq in a reasonable timeframe.
For all the military is doing to protect, it is good to remember present and future veterans not only today but everyday for the service they have and continue to provide to our country.