Congressman Jason Smith

Congressman Jason Smith

Honoring Our Heroes

The United States is the greatest country on the face of the earth because we join the brilliance of liberty with the incentive of opportunity. However, this combination of prosperity is not a guarantee. It was President Reagan who reminded us that, “freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.” We have remained the envy of the world because ever since our nation’s birth there have been brave American service members willing to forgo everything to ensure the American Dream would live on.

On November 11th, our nation honors the generations of brave patriots who have served in our military. As President Eisenhower, himself a five-star general and veteran of World Wars I and II, said, “it is well for us to pause, to acknowledge our debt to those who paid so large a share of freedom’s price.” That is what we have done for 100 years—taking time out to reflect on the tremendous service by our nation’s heroes who have fought for the freedoms and rights we enjoy as Americans.

I’m proud southern Missouri is a welcoming and supportive place to the over 55,000 veterans who call our area home, and I’m so thankful for the time I get to spend with our local heroes. On Saturday, I will be meeting with a group of 30 veterans who recently traveled to Washington, DC as part of an honor flight. These honor flights allow veterans from all over the United States to travel to our nation’s capital and view the memorials commemorating their service at no cost to them. I’m privileged to be presenting each of these patriots with an American flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol Building. Then on Monday, I will be participating in a roundtable with the Korean War Veterans Association in Rolla to hear directly from them about the issues they are facing and let them know about the resources available through my office. 

I have made taking care of these men and women a cornerstone of my work as an advocate for southern Missouri. My efforts have centered on ensuring our veterans have access to the best care and services possible. That is why in the past year I fought for legislation that provided $97.1 billion in funding to support veterans’ health care and benefits. I also secured increased access to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clinics for the veterans in our area and obtained funding for a new, 40,000 square foot VA facility in Cape Girardeau, which will open in 2022. Additionally, I worked to extend the operating hours at the VA facility in Salem. These are tangible results that will improve the quality of care for our veterans in southern Missouri.

While I am dedicated to securing better care for our veterans in Congress, I am also committed to help them navigate the bloated government bureaucracy. Whether it is assistance in dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs, trying to better understand GI Benefits, or getting a copy of military records, I am always here to help the veterans of Southern Missouri. My team and I have assisted thousands of our area’s veterans and just this year, we secured over $2 million in benefits they were duly owed. Veterans risk their lives to protect our freedoms and it is my privilege to advocate for them.

Our men and women in uniform remain the prime example of the incredible citizens we raise as a nation. Their character, determination, and love of country is the personification of the American spirit. In the words of President John F. Kennedy, “as we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” I hope you will join me this Veterans Day in recommitting ourselves to another hundred years of service to our veterans and to living by the example they’ve set. May God bless our veterans, and may God continue to bless America.