Honoring Our Veterans

Nov 12, 2013 Issues: Veterans
ACU Veterans Day Ceremony
ACU Veterans Day Ceremony

Dear friends,

Nearly 100 years ago, President Woodrow Wilson declared that November 11 would be set aside to remember the veterans who fought and died in the First World War.  He said that it would be a day, “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory.”  In 1954, Congress amended the day of remembrance to include all veterans.  Since then, we have taken time each November 11 to reflect on all the blessings our veterans have given us through their sacrifices. 

How will you honor veterans today?  I started the day with a ceremony at Abilene Christian University, in which we gave thanks for our veterans and offered prayers for our troops.  This afternoon, I had the tremendous honor of presenting the Purple Heart and Bronze Star to the family of PFC Francisco J. Loza. Mr. Loza served as an Infantryman with the U.S. 36th Infantry Division’s 3rd Battalion, Company I, 142nd Infantryman Regiment during World War II.  He earned a handful of medals, which were never presented to him.  His family approached my office, and by working with friends, family, and veterans advocates, we were able to obtain the awards Mr. Loza had earned. 

Providing services like these for our veterans is one of the greatest privileges of my job.  We’re able to help with big and small jobs.  This summer, we were able to help replace an Air Force pilot’s helmet. The pilot’s helmet was stolen at the end of his service, and he’s always missed having it as a keepsake.  This Christmas, his son plans to surprise him by giving him an exact replacement.   

We also work tirelessly to help veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned from their service.  Navigating the necessary paperwork can be complicated, but my staff can guide you through it and help speed up the process. If you need assistance with VA benefits, visit my website or call toll-free at 866-763-1611.  

Access to health care is another important issue for veterans.  We work closely with the Department of Veterans Affairs to ensure that our veterans receive the best care possible at the Big Spring Veterans Hospital.  We’re also working to facilitate discussions between Texas Tech and the VA about building a new facility for the Lubbock VA Outpatient Clinic on the Texas Tech campus.  This will provide local veterans with the best quality, state-of-the-art medical care. 

Providing these services to our veterans is the very least we can do to pay them back for all they’ve done for us.  This Veterans Day, I hope you’ll join me in honoring all the brave men and women who have fought to defend our country, our people, and our freedoms. 

May God bless them, and may He continue to bless the United States of America.