WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Ander Crenshaw, Member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, who provided remarks in commemoration of Memorial Day at the Jacksonville National Cemetery on Saturday, May 23, issued the following statement in honor of the holiday, celebrated this year on Monday, May 25:
“America’s greatness is drawn from the blood and sacrifice of the brave men and women who have gone before us and who defend the freedoms we enjoy today. Each deserves to be front and center in our thoughts on Memorial Day. And, on this humbling day, I welcome the opportunity to join Northeast Florida and the nation in paying my respects to the brave men and women who have passed and underscoring the dedication of those who remain in service at home and around the globe.
“Whether here in my hometown of Jacksonville or representing the people of Northeast Florida on Capitol Hill, I am privileged to tell the story of our region’s proud and long-standing military tradition and fight for its needs. When it comes to our Veterans, my mission: Make sure they have swift access to and receive the benefits and services they have earned and deserve. For the men and women still in uniform: See that they never go without the tools they need to carry out the mission at hand.
“These principles form the heart of my work on behalf of those who put themselves in harm’s way so that I and the residents of Northeast Florida and cities and town across the United States can know liberty. It’s why I voted last Tuesday to pass key veterans benefits reform measures, including the Veterans ID Card Act. Those who have served deserve efficient access to benefits. They shouldn’t have to carry around pages and pages of information - some sensitive and private - to prove their military service. With one simple card, as the bill provides for veterans who have not already reached 20 years of service, they will be able to leave their lengthy DD-214 forms at home.
“It’s also why I secured the funding necessary to locate the National Cemetery in Jacksonville. With the first burial there in 2009, our veterans continue to have a sacred final resting place and their loved ones a beautiful memorial to honor family and friends who have selflessly served our country.
“It’s also why I stand so strongly behind next year’s Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, voting to pass that comprehensive bill on April 29. When it comes to protecting our national security, the legislation makes efficient use of taxpayer dollars for necessary defense projects, including $32.5 million for Naval Station Mayport and Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Moreover, funding increases for veterans programs in that same bill will ensure our veterans have timely and easy access to key benefits – among them VA medical services, electronic health record modernization, disability claims backlog improvement, facilities construction, and increased VA oversight.
“This work will never cease, nor should it. But, to be clear, it serves as a mere backdrop to the dedication of the men and women who have served and given their lives for our country and those currently stationed around the globe. So on this day, with flags flying high in parades large and small, with the bugle heard far and near across parks, memorials, and cemeteries, with Americans young and old gathered with family and friends, we pause to reflect on and remember them. They are the reason this country is so great.”