November 11, 2018
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, the Office of U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) released the following statement from Senator King in honor of Veterans Day:
“On this Veterans Day, it is my privilege to recognize and thank all of the men and women who have served in our armed forces for their commitment to our country,” said Senator King. “Their tireless efforts and unfailing devotion to duty have kept us safe in times of peril. Today, we pause to reflect on their service and the debt of honor that we owe them and their families.
“One hundred years ago, members of the Allied Forces and Central Powers laid down their arms, an event recognized as the end of the First World War. Originally known as Armistice Day, November 11 became the date each year that we as a country remembered and honored the more than 116,000 Americans who lost their lives during The Great War. After World War II, this annual remembrance was expanded to honor all those who served, and became known as Veterans Day. Today, we continue to use this occasion to pay tribute to all of our Nation’s veterans who have proudly served. Our veterans and their families – those who returned home, those who are still missing, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice – represent the very best of what this country has to offer and I am deeply thankful for their noble service.
“The people of Maine have long embraced the call to serve, and our state has a storied history of sending our sons and daughters to bravely defend the safety, security, and values of the United States of America. This spirit of service not only lives in the willingness to don the uniform, but also in the commitment of the people of Maine to care for those who have returned.
“I am humbled to join people throughout Maine and across the country to honor the selfless service of our Veterans and to recognize the eternal debt that we owe to them and their families. There is still much work to do to honor their sacrifices, but today we rededicate ourselves to supporting those who have served in uniform on our behalf, including those veterans who are struggling with homelessness, unemployment, poverty, and lack of access to healthcare, and those families who are left with the burden of not knowing the fate of their loved ones who remain unaccounted for overseas. We must continue to serve our veterans with the same dedication that they served us.”
Senator King has been a strong advocate for veterans issues during his time in Washington. Last week, he honored Maine’s veterans in a speech at Messalonskee Middle School’s annual Veterans Tribute Assembly, where he highlighted students’ work on their projects, honored veterans in the room, and underscored the importance of living up to the sacred responsibility of caring for those who have served. In October, he attended the 6th Annual Women Veterans’ Luncheon in Rumford where he recognized and commended the attendees, who represented all branches of military service. Earlier that month, he joined Maine veterans at the 21st Annual Homeless Veterans Stand Down at Togus VA Medical Center to highlight services and resources for veterans who are homeless or in transitional housing. In September, he joined a panel featuring veterans’ healthcare experts and caregivers at the Portland Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), to discuss common suicide risk factors and warning signs for suicide and provide information about VA mental health and suicide prevention resources. Also in September, he applauded the House and Senate’s passage of the MilCon-VA Conference Report, which aims to consolidate and improve VA community care programs and reform the VA’s existing facilities to best serve veterans. In June, his bill to strengthen accountability of senior executives at the VA was signed into law.
In April, Senator King visited the Travis Mills Foundation Veterans Retreat in Rome, which brings injured veterans and their families to Maine in order to help the veterans overcome physical obstacles with the support of family members. Senator King also highlighted the important place of veterans in Maine by dedicating his November 2017 and December 2017 podcasts to the subject, with Travis Mills as one of the guests on the latter show. In December 2017, 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 followed a February 2017 letter from Senator King to the VA urging additional resources on the topic.