Honoring those who have served
Of all the revered days in our Nation’s history, Veterans Day holds a sacred place. Nearly 100 years ago — on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month — a ceasefire between the Allied and Central Powers went into effect, marking the end of World War I hostilities.
In the aftermath of this terrible conflict, which took a tremendous toll on American lives, Nov. 11 was proclaimed a day of tribute to the immeasurable contributions of those who had served. On this year’s Veterans Day, I was honored to join with communities in Maine and across the Nation in continuing this tribute by celebrating the service and sacrifice of our veterans who have bravely stood in defense of the United States and our values.
Maine has a long and storied history of military service. During the Civil War, Maine sent a higher proportion of its citizens to combat than any other state in the Union. To this day, Maine continues this tradition of service, with one of the highest numbers of veterans per capita in the United States.
With such a strong, first-hand understanding of the contributions of veterans to our communities in Maine, our commitment to service also extends to an unwavering dedication to meeting the needs of the veterans and their families who sacrificed to keep us safe. While we have certainly made progress in improving access to healthcare and benefits in recent years, there is still a great deal of work to be done.
The greatest expression of gratitude to the neighbors, friends and family who bravely served to protect our national security and the freedoms we enjoy is to reaffirm our commitment to those veterans who struggle with unemployment, poverty, and difficulties in accessing healthcare. Let this be a call to action that not only on this revered day in our Nation’s history, but each and every day, we must rededicate ourselves to caring for the veterans and their families who have sacrificed on our behalf.
In the spirit of thanks for which Armistice Day was originally proclaimed, let us affirm our gratitude as a community for all those brave men and women who answered the call to serve in the protection of our freedom.