The young patriots now returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan and other deployments worldwide are joining the ranks of veterans to whom America owes an immense debt of gratitude.
For those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, we are grateful that such men and women were among us. For those who continue to serve, we honor their commitment. For those who return to civilian life, we honor their service.
From a generation that came of age during the Great Depression, millions of our country's best and bravest took up arms in a worldwide struggle against tyranny.
Since the Revolution, eight generations of America's veterans have established an unbroken commitment to freedom.
Twenty-five million veterans are living among us today. These men and women selflessly set aside their civilian lives to put on the uniform and serve us.
America's veterans embody the ideals upon which America was founded more than 229 years ago.
Because all of us believe and understand in the fabric of the common bond of why we call ourselves American is to care for the men and women who wear the uniform; and when they take off the uniform, we care for them when they are veterans.
Men and women whose early youth was shaped in the ordeal of the Great Depression showed the values formed in that crucible when tyranny threatened a world.
As a matter of fact, when compression technology came along, we thought the future in 1996 was about voice. We got it wrong. It is about voice, video, and data, and that is what we have today on these cell phones.
Each family of the United States military now attends to their loved ones funeral with a wrenching worry that it will be met possibly with a protest or a demonstration.
Our greatest privilege and responsibility as leaders of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs is to provide our veterans with a system that cares for their wounds and ensures that they have an opportunity to succeed.
Our nation has kept faith with its veterans. Funding for veterans healthcare and benefits is strong, and has increased more than 75 percent in the last decade.
I strongly support the Bush Administration's clean diesel rules, which will reduce air pollution from diesel engines by more than 90 percent, and reduce the sulfur content of diesel fuel by more than 95 percent.
The men and women of today's VA are dedicated to caring for today's veterans and stand ready to provide for our servicemembers who now defend our freedoms and our way of life.
I also believe that Hurricane Katrina did reveal a weakness in our energy supply systems, highlighting the reliance this country has on the gulf coast for our energy resources.
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