As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, I learn every week about the bravery of our military service members. The sacrifices they make to defend our freedom are truly awe inspiring, and we owe them an immeasurable debt. From the earliest days of the Republic, caring for our returning soldiers has been a sacred duty of Congress. And while it is important that we take the time to demonstrate our appreciation throughout the year, each Veterans Day is a special opportunity to show our gratitude to the thousands of veterans who reside here in Rhode Island.
November 11 was chosen as Veterans Day because it is the day World War One ended, and this year’s commemorations were particularly poignant as they fell on the 100th anniversary of that armistice. Over the weekend, I joined several of my colleagues in federal and state government at the WaterFire Salute to Veterans lighting ceremony. This particular edition of one of Rhode Island’s iconic traditions served as a fitting tribute to those who have served in uniform. I also had the pleasure of participating in the North Kingstown Veterans Day Parade. From Wickford Village to North Kingstown High School, it was wonderful to see so many Rhode Islanders on the parade route.
More recently, I was pleased to help usher legislation through the House of Representatives to memorialize Army Captain Matthew J. August, a North Kingstown native who was tragically killed in action when his convoy was ambushed in 2004. Captain August was the first Rhode Islander to be killed as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom. This legislation will designate the post office in Saunderstown as the “Captain Matthew J. August Post Office” in his honor.
If you are a veteran in need of assistance with your benefits, I encourage you to call my Rhode Island office at (401) 732-9400. For more information on veterans’ issues and my visits around the Second District, please visit my website and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.