Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar issued the following statement for Veterans Day, 2014:

“With grateful hearts, Minnesotans will gather together across the state on Veterans Day to honor the brave Americans that have served in uniform to protect our freedom. Today I am especially mindful of the soldiers returning from battle permanently injured and suffering life-altering disabilities.

Last month in Washington, 14 years after being authorized by Congress, the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial finally opened near the National Mall. This monument honors soldiers from all conflicts and all branches of the military that have returned home from war only to fight a new battle against the wounds of war.

One of those heroes is Sylvester Mechavich, a 97-year-old World War II veteran who is now in hospice care at the Saint Cloud VA. Serving as a squad leader in the Army during the Battle of the Bulge in 1944, he lost both his eyes to a grenade and suffered other physical disabilities. Despite these injuries, Sylvester went on to live a full life never wavering in his dedication to service or his devotion to his family. 

As a country, we must stand with veterans like Sylvester that stood tall for us on the front lines. That means making reforms to the VA that will increase accountability and ensure veterans have access to high-quality and timely health care. We must also take steps to reduce the unemployment rate for veterans of the post-9/11 wars.

While the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial is long overdue, a monument alone is not enough – we must provide these heroes with the care needed to recover and opportunities needed to succeed.