A compilation of Veterans Day messages from Florida’s elected officials and politicians:
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio:
On this Veterans Day, we give thanks to all the brave men and women who have served our nation in uniform, as well as their families who have sacrificed so much.
We also remember their fallen brothers and sisters in arms, including Matthew J. LaCourse, a retired lieutenant colonel flying out of Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base who died last week in an F-16 crash. The United States is a special place because so many courageous people like him have defended our country and our interests abroad.
This past year has been a trying one for veterans across the country, in large part because they were victimized by unspeakable scandals at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
The good news is that despite having a dysfunctional U.S. Senate, we were able to pass a law making significant reforms to the VA.
The bad news is that it took a crisis to create a sense of urgency to actually do something.
As we look forward to the next two years under Republican majorities in both the House and Senate, we need to work with a consistent sense of urgency to get things for our veterans.
This is especially true when it comes to making sure their medical needs are met with timely, high-quality and dignified health care.
For example, we must ensure that the VA reform law passed this year is properly implemented. Among its many reforms was one I championed with House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller, a Florida Republican, empowering the VA secretary to discipline and fire incompetent managers. This is a power for the administration to hold senior officials accountable, and Congress must make sure that it is properly used.
We also need to make sure that the Veterans Choice Cards authorized in the law are issued to eligible veterans by year’s end so they have the freedom to find more timely health care. The law also included measures to fix the ongoing problem of excessive delays in processing veterans’ claims and appeals, so we must ensure that the resources are being delivered to achieve this goal.
I’m also hopeful that several noncontroversial, bipartisan military and veterans proposals that never saw the light of the day in the recent Washington dysfunction will be properly debated, passed and ultimately sent to the president’s desk.
Governor Rick Scott:
“As Veteran’s Day approaches, Ann and I join every Floridian in honoring the exceptional men and women of the United States military who have served and protected our country. Florida is home to more than 1.5 million veterans who have selflessly served our nation, and today are living the American Dream in our state.
“I encourage you to take Veteran’s Day as a reminder to thank these heroes, whose service has protected our families, opportunities, and freedoms. While we can never fully repay our veterans for their sacrifice, we must take every possible opportunity to recognize and support them. Let’s keep working to honor our veterans, and make Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation.”
U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross:
“Words cannot adequately express the depth of gratitude I have for the heroes who served in WWI, WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War. I continue to remain grateful for the men and women who served in the War in Afghanistan, the Iraq War, for those who remain in Libya and Syria, and who are currently taking part in military intervention against ISIL It’s an honor and blessing to live in a country where democracy thrives and the American Dream can live on because of our service members, veterans and fallen heroes who fortify our nation’s independence. I am proud of the 1.5 million veterans who call Florida home, including the 160,000 fearless women who served in our military. These men and women remained true to their creed and braved unspeakable situations to protect American values. Because of their immeasurable dedication, we must maintain our promise to care for our military once they return home.
“Our courageous military keeps our nation’s values secure and their duty bears propinquity to our hearts. Please join me in honoring America and our veteran heroes to whom I send my deepest gratitude.”
U.S. Rep-elect Carlos Curbelo:
“Today we recognize the courageous men and women who have served our nation in order to preserve the freedom and democracy we enjoy. The bravery and dedication that our military men and women offer our country during peacetime and in war, at home and abroad, has allowed us to remain the land of liberty and opportunity for all. That is why on this Veterans Day, and every day, we recognize the heroes who have served our nation and remember we must always honor them.”
State Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto:
“On this Veterans Day, I urge my fellow Floridians to take a moment to express gratitude to the brave men and women who are serving or have served in the United States Armed Forces. Whether veterans of wartime or of peacetime, those drafted or who volunteered, those who have fallen or those with us today, these heroes have selflessly put the welfare of our nation above their own.
“In honor of Veterans Day, Governor Scott announced that there will be free park entry for everyone at state parks on Tuesday, November 11. The Florida Park Service encourages residents and visitors to celebrate veterans and active military personnel by bringing them to one of the 171 state parks and trails to enjoy outdoor activities
“Please join me in thanking our service men and women, as well as their families, for the sacrifices they have made in responding to the call of duty, protecting us from threats to our freedom, and defending our liberty.”
State Senator Maria Sachs:
“Today we honor those who have proudly served our nation in defense of our freedom, and we remember the sacrifices made by those who lost their lives fighting for our flag.
“But saying “thanks” simply isn’t enough. Our veterans need help with access to quality education, good jobs, and increased healthcare options.
“That’s why my office has led on legislation that provides in-state tuition to ALL veterans at Florida’s public colleges, free access to online learning programs, and preferred job opportunities with the State of Florida.
“This isn’t about politics. It’s about doing what’s right for the men and women who put everything on the line to protect our children and families.
“So today, please join me in thanking our veterans for everything they have done in service to our state, our nation, and our community here in South Florida.”
State Representative Dane Eagle:
“On this Veterans Day in 2014 let us reflect upon and honor our veterans who have made this country a great beacon of liberty: those who died in action answering the call to duty; those who survived battle and returned home to raise families; and those who protect us from afar in distant lands and unfamiliar places, away from loved ones.
“Our American Veterans are our protectors and watchers, our embodiments of hope that we will stay free. They are our sons and daughters, our mothers and fathers, our grandfathers and grandmothers and, more than anyone, the American Veteran knows Freedom isn’t free.“Let us give tribute to our veterans by continuing with our daily lives, raising families, going to work and school. Their gift to us is freedom. Our gift to them is giving them a home worth fighting for.
“We need our American Veterans as much today as we ever have. Remember them, pray for them, honor them.”
State Representative Heather Fitzenghagen:
“Today, take some time to appreciate the sacrifices our Veterans have made for us. I extend my biggest thanks to our Veterans here in SWFL and across the country. Thank you for all that you do.”
State Representative Greg Steube:
“I wanted to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation for those who have served our country. Whether they have just returned from overseas, or now serve our community as heroes at home, it has been my experience that veterans never stop dedicating all of themselves to the support and betterment of their nation. While we honor them on this day, it is my goal year round to honor their sacrifice and service both at the Capitol and at home.”
State Representative Bill Hager:
“Today marks the anniversary of Armistice Day, which commemorates the peace agreement signed at the end of fighting on the Western Front of World War I. In honor of those brave men and women, and those who followed in their footsteps, we take this day each year to celebrate and thank those who have served our country so that each of us can be free.
“Today we are losing our veterans from World War II, who have been called our greatest generation, at a very rapid rate. Our Korean, Vietnam and Middle East vets face scars and illnesses long after their service. Currently, many of our neighbors have sent off their loved ones, many in harm’s way, to various military outposts around the world.
“It is important that each of us on this special day take a moment to say THANK YOU to our Veterans and our current military personnel. Their families also deserve our recognition, support and thanks as well for their sacrifice.
“In our private and public remembrances, we cannot ever forget the Veterans who served our nation, in particular those that made the ultimate sacrifice.”
State Representative George Moritis:
“Today I am grateful to be part of the Florida legislature during a time when we have been able to thank our veterans in a tangible way on behalf of the men and women of this great state. At the beginning of this 2014 Legislative Session, we passed the Florida GI Bill to reward the sacrifices of those who have served in our armed forces. This legislation makes higher education more affordable for honorably discharged veterans by providing them in-state tuition rates at our state colleges and universities. This benefit demonstrates our gratitude for the service of our veterans and should encourage more returning veterans to call Florida home as they seek to advance professionally in the civilian sector.
“I would encourage everyone to take time not just today, but throughout each year to learn more about the great sacrifices that have been made by our military to defend our freedoms. Please join me in giving appreciation and respect to the members of our Armed Forces who over the years have kept watch over our peace and bravely fought in our wars.
“God bless each of you, our brave veterans and the United States of America this Veteran’s Day.”
Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano:
“On behalf of the Pasco County Tax Collector’s Office I would like to wish every person who has put on the uniform of this great nation a very happy Veterans Day. Our country was built by those who sacrificed of themselves to ensure that all Americans can live in freedom. May all who call the United States of America home remember to thank a veteran for their service. And, may we never forget the ultimate sacrifice of those who never returned home. May they always live on in our thoughts and prayers.”
Florida Democratic Party Chair Allison Tant:
“Today, Floridians from the Keys to the Panhandle stand united in honoring the bravery, accomplishments, and sacrifices our veterans and their families have made in the name of freedom. For their courage and selfless service to our country, we owe our servicemembers not only our gratitude but a commitment to honor our country’s promise to them. So on this Veterans Day let us recommit ourselves in the fight for our veterans and their families.”