In honor of Memorial Day, AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. released the following statement:
"One-hundred-and-fifty-one years ago, Abraham Lincoln spoke of the grand sacrifice of veterans and the promises we should make to them. He said that we must “care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.”
"Sadly, it wasn’t that long ago that Veterans were left out in the cold. In 1918 our armed forces returned from World War I and were given only 60 dollars and a train ticket. They had to stage massive protests in order to be paid for their sacrifices. It wasn’t until President Franklin Roosevelt, that fair benefits were finally offered to Veterans under the G.I Bill.
"It shouldn’t have been a fight – or even a question. I proudly served as a VA nurse for 20 years and I was honored to serve our nation’s heroes. I have seen first-hand the injuries –both physical and emotional—that our brave men and women who have “borne the battle” face after their service.
"Today, our nation’s veterans carry more of the burden than they have in our entire history. We will never be able to fully repay them for their service. But what we can do – and what we must do – is recommit ourselves to ensuring that they receive all the care and benefits they were promised when they signed up.
"AFGE is so proud of the dedicated doctors, nurses, benefits specialists, national cemetery workers, and others who work on the front lines keeping our promise to veterans every day. We must strengthen the VA so it can continue deliver the quality care our veterans deserve. We must help veterans find good jobs after they reenter civilian life. And we must ensure that no veteran has to worry about having a roof over their head, or where their next meal will come from.
"Veterans must never be sold out, dismissed, or forgotten. We cannot let petty politics interfere with the sacred oath we made to them when they signed up to defend our freedoms.
"This Memorial Day we must stand together to honor the sacrifice of the fallen by fulfilling our commitment to veterans, just as they have done for us."