Thank you veterans on this annual occasion when we honor U.S.A. armed forces. Our military service men and women assume the obligation of defending our nation on behalf of each of us when commanded to do so, whether or not we individually support the action.
Beginning with WWII in 1941 this nation has been involved in wars for 35 years. We've had only 41 years of peace, but even during those years our service personnel were often participating in less than peaceful military actions around the world, including Nato and United Nations activities. We all know the major wars, and the ones in which we are now engaged, but remember Cuba's Bay of Pigs, Panama, Somalia, Grenada, Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina -- the war timelines are listed HERE.
I do believe that the sacrifices made by our armed forces during WWII are directly responsible for the fact our country continued to exist as the free democracy/republic our constitution's creators intended. For this reason I accord special tribute to those WWII surviving veterans whose numbers diminish daily, as well as to those who live only in spirit now.
Armed forces personnel are often placed in harm's way with tragic results. Lives are lost, outwardly observable physical and/or mental injuries are incurred, and wounds invisible to the eye alter life for some service people. Our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, friends and lovers -- these men and women are all forever changed, so are their families.
I believe as a nation our people should be insistent that our veterans receive not only initial optimum timely medical care, but continued long term therapeutic interventions needed to maximize their quality of life. I am greatly distressed whenever I become aware veterans have not received the highest level of care. I am particularly concerned those diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI,) Closed Head Trauma, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTS) receive the extended care they need and their loved ones receive necessary caregiver support.
I fervently urge our legislators and government to ensure all our veterans receive the medical care promised them and of which they are so deserving. The very least each of us can do is to lobby our government on our veterans behalf, insisting on this medical care and the immediate correction of any problems associated with its provision should they occur. We should not countenance any service delays if our government fails to meet this obligation.
We also honor our veterans when we acquaint ourselves with local, state, national and international issues that affect all our lives, then express our views by voting on election days. Our veterans have offered their lives so that we can enjoy freedom. In return, our responsibility is to vote in elections, a small act compared to the actions we've required of our veterans. Yet this past mid-term election less than half of qualified voters cast a ballot. Even during presidential election years voter turnout is well below the number entitled to vote. Perhaps a much greater number of citizens will one day become informed and cast their ballot.
Thank you, again, veterans !