March 29, 2018
BRUNSWICK, ME – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today joined veterans, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) professionals, and leaders from across the state to honor the service and sacrifice of Vietnam veterans who were inducted into the military 50 years ago in 1968. Former President Barack Obama started a 13-year commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War that runs from May 2012 to November 2025.
“I’m here today to say two things to our Vietnam veterans: Welcome and thanks,” Senator King said. “Many Vietnam veterans returned home fifty years ago to a hostile political climate fraught with undue anger towards them, and many were not recognized for their heroism or their unwavering commitment to answer when their country called. So for that, today, I say welcome home.
“Secondly, I’d like to say a sincere thanks. Thanks for your sacrifices across the world, and for your sacrifices here at home. And thanks to your spouses and families who have sacrificed on behalf of our country as well. Much of our collective reverence for our troops today is because of Vietnam veterans. The nation learned that its treatment of Vietnam veterans was unjust, and has worked to remedy those wrongdoings and recognize the brave men and women who put their lives on the line so we may live free. So for all you have done – yesterday, today, and tomorrow – I say welcome and thank you. May we recommit ourselves to serving our veterans as they have served us.”
Since arriving in Washington, Senator King has been a strong advocate for veterans issues, and recently highlighted the important place of veterans in Maine by devoting his November and December podcasts to the subject. In December, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will fund three new positions in Maine to better serve justice-involved Maine veterans confronting homelessness, mental health or substance abuse issues – a move which follows a February letter from Senator King to the VA urging additional resources on the topic. Senator King is a cosponsor of the Military and Veteran Caregiver Services Improvement Act of 2017, which would expand the VA’s family caregiver program to veterans of all eras – including those who served in Vietnam – so that their families can have the resources they need to provide care at home. Senator King was a cosponsor of the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017, which passed the Senate in June 2017 and has since been signed into law.
In the afternoon, Senator King attended the 3rd Annual New England Craft Brew Summit in Portland. Senator King is a cosponsor of the bipartisan Small BREW Act, which would reduce the excise tax on each barrel of beer produced by small brewers. He is also a cosponsor of the Craft Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act, bipartisan legislation that would promote continued job creation in the growing craft beverage, cider, wine, and distillery industries throughout Maine and the nation by reducing excise taxes, compliance burdens, and regulations for brewers, cider makers, vinters, and distillers. He has also consistently advocated to allow brewers to continue sending their spent grains to state farmers.
Senator King will end his day providing remarks at the University of Maine Law 2018 Justice for Women Lecture. Senator King will introduce the keynote speaker Mariam Jalabi, Director of the Syrian National Coalition’s Office. The topic for this year’s Justice for Women Lecture is, “The Struggle for Human Rights: From Syria to Maine.”