Thank You for Your Service and Sacrifice
Throughout my time in Congress, I have had the privilege of meeting many veterans from across the district and hearing fascinating stories detailing their military service and their contributions to communities across Colorado.
Pueblo is among my favorite places to visit in our district. The city is a melting pot of different cultures, and it has a rich history that is filled with memories of the still-active 135-year-old steel mill. Perhaps most importantly, the people of Pueblo have a long tradition of selfless service to our nation.
In 1993, the city council started referring to Pueblo as the “Home of Heroes.” At the time, Pueblo was the only city in the United States to have four living Medal of Honor recipients. In 2001, a monument was built and dedicated to those four Medal of Honor recipients. The monument sits outside of the Pueblo Convention Center entrance and serves as a reminder of the service those men gave during their country’s time of war. The statues of William J. Crawford, Drew D. Dix, Raymond “Jerry” Murphy, and Carl L. Sitter are permanently enshrined in the monument to commemorate the tremendous courage that earned each of them the nation’s highest military award. Today, the motto “Home of Heroes” greets visitors as they enter the city of Pueblo.
These four Medal of Honor recipients give Pueblo tremendous prestige, as the four service members represent the very best and bravest of the United States. Each of their courageous acts during battle has been nationally recognized and it is truly amazing that they all lived to tell their stories. I will never take the freedom that my family and I enjoy every day for granted. All of the liberties and blessings that we have in our lives are a result of the courageous service of men and women in the military.
Remembering the sacrifices veterans from our district have made is of upmost importance. Congress must honor our veterans by making sure that they are taken care of when they return home. Many veterans today are hindered by bureaucratic red-tape that doesn’t always allow for them to receive sufficient care. This is simply unacceptable. My team and I are always available and eager to assist our veterans with federal agencies however we can, and I welcome anyone to call or visit one of my district offices for help. This year alone, we have obtained service medals for 15 Vietnam veterans who never received them after their time of service. We can be reached in Grand Junction at 970-241-2499, or in Pueblo at 719-542-1073.
I am deeply committed to making sure that our veterans receive the care they need when they return home. Congress has taken important steps towards ensuring a more efficient and effective Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system with bills like the Veterans VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2016 (H.R. 5620), which will help us is do a better job of addressing quality of care problems within the VA. I was also pleased that my measure to name the VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Pueblo after Puebloan and hero, Marine Corps Pfc. James Dunn, was signed into law earlier this year. Pfc. Dunn was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroic actions at the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II.
Veterans should be thanked every day for the sacrifices they made. This Veterans Day, I encourage everyone to take a moment out of their day to reflect on how different our lives would be if men and women never made the promise to serve in our military. I am especially proud of all the men and women who have answered the call of duty from our district, and today I want to say a special thank you to every veteran across the country, as well as their families, for their dedication to preserving the freedoms and independence that make the American Dream possible for all of us.