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Congressman Tom Cole

On Veterans Day, we show our unwavering support and appreciation for those who have served in America’s military. As we recognize the selfless service of our veterans rendered throughout history, including by the millions living among us today, we also solemnly remember those who did not make it home.

During this 20th anniversary year of the vicious terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001, I am certainly thinking of those veterans who engaged in conflicts in the Middle East as part of the Global War on Terror. That included many who fought the Taliban and other elements of terror in Afghanistan to promote democracy and help stabilize and foster peace in this struggling region. 

While those efforts were not in vain, I remain deeply saddened by the disastrous manner our troops were withdrawn from the country – which led to the tragic loss of 13 of our U.S. service members, who were assisting with evacuation efforts at the Kabul Airport.

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Although there is no action great enough to express our gratitude for their service and ultimate sacrifice rendered in the line of duty, I am encouraged that the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed legislation to posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to those courageous 13 Americans. As a proud co-sponsor of the bill, I am hopeful that the Senate will soon take it up as well so that this honor can be bestowed and bring some level of comfort to their families as we continue to mourn the loss of these heroes.

Indeed, we owe all our veterans a debt of gratitude for their service. Just as they volunteered to protect our nation both at home and abroad, so do we have a duty to them upon their return from combat, many of whom sustained life-altering injuries fighting for the cause of freedom.

The legacy of American military service extends beyond the founding of our nation. Throughout history, tens of millions of individuals have selflessly answered the call to secure, defend and preserve freedom. As we celebrate our distinguished veterans this week, please join me in remembering too that America remains free because of those who willingly take the oath to defend our country. For that, we are forever grateful.

If you are a veteran and have experienced problems related to your earned benefits, please contact my Norman office at 405-329-6500, so my staff can help you get answers. Also, if you are a veteran experiencing a crisis, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, or text the number 838255 to receive confidential support.

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