Morrison County Record

By Sen. Amy Klobuchar 

It’s been said that ‘the nation which forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten.’ We tell the world who we are as a nation by how we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we hold dear. Memorial Day is a time to remember these fallen heroes and do right by the veterans and service members who are still with us.

That’s why today, I’m thinking about the countless Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

I’m thinking of Quentin Gifford from Mankato, who was on the U.S.S. Oklahoma when it was torpedoed during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

I’m thinking of John Anderson from Willmar, whose ship was struck by an explosive enemy shell on D-Day.

I’m thinking of Larry Gosen from Bingham Lake, whose plane crashed during combat in the Gulf of Tonkin.

And I’m thinking of Charles William Nelson and Archie Stein, who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II and are laid to rest beside my father at Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Their sacrifices — and the sacrifices of so many others — ensured a future where freedom prevailed over fear and liberty triumphed over tyranny. We get to live in that future.

That’s why it’s on all of us to honor the fallen. One way we do that is by taking care of those who follow in their footsteps.

This means guaranteeing that veterans can get their disability claims processed. It means ensuring that they can access their G.I. benefits. And it means making sure that they get quality health care when they need it. That’s why I fought to ensure veterans exposed  to toxic burn pit exposure in Iraq and Afghanistan get the care they need. And as of this year, thousands of Minnesota vets are eligible for care up to eight years earlier than expected. You no longer have to file a disability claim to receive this care — if you were exposed to toxins or served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, or any combat zone after 9/11, you are eligible to enroll in VA health care today and will have access for life.

My guiding principle is this: when our veterans and service members signed up to serve our country, there wasn’t a waiting line. When they need a job, housing, or health care, there should never be a waiting line in the United States of America.

To all our service members and veterans — and to all the families remembering loved ones today — we honor you on Memorial Day and every day. You represent the best of America. Thank you for your service and devotion to our country.

Amy Klobuchar represents Minnesota in the United States Senate