Congressman Charles B. Rangel, who represents the 13th Congressional District of New York that includes Upper Manhattan and parts of the Bronx, released the following statement to commemorate Veterans Day:
“As we celebrate Veterans Day, we reflect and recognize the extraordinary dedication, courage and distinction of our nations Veterans.
Today, all Americans pay tribute to our men and women in uniform who serve every day to protect our way of life. Today, we are reminded of our solemn obligation we have to our Veterans and their families. Today we salute all those who stepped forward across every generation to defend our nation and our values. On Veterans Day and everyday let us show our Veterans the gratitude and respect they rightfully deserve. Our Veterans put their lives on the line so freedom and liberty can triumph.
As a Veteran of the Korean War, I understand what our service members go through on a daily basis to protect the freedoms we enjoy today.No ceremony or parade, no hug or handshake is enough to truly honor that service. As our Veterans continue to return home, we must support their transition and ensure they have access to healthcare and education and tools they need to build a successful career. When I returned from Korea, the GI Bill made it possible for me to graduate from law school and helped pave my path to Congress. I am proudly support of the Post 9/11 GI Bill to ensure that all service men and women receive the same opportunity.
Recently my colleagues and I held a press conference to urge the passage of the Restore Honor to Service Members Act, which would correct the records of service members charged due to sexual orientation. Between WWII and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 2010, over 100,000 men and women in the Armed Forces were dishonorably discharged because they were gay and lesbian. This prevents them from receiving important benefits such as housing, healthcare and education. It is wrong to deny benefits to these brave service members simply because of their sexual orientation. Congress must pass this very important bill.
I am proud to represent over 17,000 of our nation’s heroes living in New York’s 13th Congressional District. The 369th Sustainment Brigade, better known as the Harlem Hellfighters, were not just the first African-American regiment to serve in World War I, but in every American conflict since, including Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.
Let us never forget the sacrifices they make, and remember that a simple thank you on Veterans Day is not enough. In Congress, I will continue to support legislation and initiatives that provide the tools they need to thrive at home. As a grateful Nation, let us show our appreciation by honoring all our Veterans every day and working to ensure the promise of America is for all who have protected it.”