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According to figures released this week by the Department of Labor, there are currently 3.4 million job openings in the United States. That high number begs the question – why are the 14 million unemployed Americans not able to fill these positions?
Tonight, I watched as time stood still. Battle hardened men and women wept. Tears of sadness. Tears of anger. Tears of pain. I watched as three pairs of boots stood in flawless formation on a land far from home. Dusty, still, yet no soldiers stood to fill them. Three helmets atop three rifles inverted upon their bayonets, representing each branch of service that lost a service member — Army, Navy, Air Force. Dog tags hung motionless, occasionally swaying in the gentle breeze that blew across the tarmac as if to remind us that these heroes will never be forgotten. In the background, airplanes could be heard taking off. The mission continued. The Battlefield Crosses stood to memorialize the ultimate sacrifice paid by our fallen soldiers.
60,000 veterans were added to the unemployment rolls in June. That brought the total number of America’s out-of-work veterans to over 1 million – a staggering figure. That is why I have introduced the Veteran Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 (H.R. 2433), or the VOW Act. All of us have an obligation to find solutions to get America’s veterans back to work. These men and women have defended our nation, only to return home to stand in an unemployment line. That is not the homecoming we promised them.
America’s veterans must have the education and skills to find employment as they return home.
Over 235 years ago, the United States of America adopted of the Declaration of Independence.
Families and communities across the country gather on Memorial Day to barbecue or hang out by the swimming pool. This year, I hope they also remember those who have given the last full measure of devotion on the field of battle in defense of their country and in support of our nation's greatest gift: freedom.
On the 40th anniversary of D-Day, President Ronald Reagan stood on the cliffs of Normandy and asked the veterans of Pointe du Hoc the question, “Why?” Why did they take those cliffs? Why did they ignore their “instinct for self-preservation”?
This Memorial Day weekend, Americans honor and remember those who have given their lives in service to protect our exceptional nation. As we pay tribute to the brave men and women who have died for our freedom, we also honor those defending our liberties around the world today.
In this century alone — from the world wars to Korea, and from Vietnam to the First Gulf War, Bosnia, and today’s Global War on Terror — millions of Americans have signed up to protect this nation, and hundreds of thousands have fallen in her name. And yet, it is always one life that resonates with us on Memorial Day. One story that everyone in one town somewhere in America knows. One man or woman we honor and remember, because he or she made the ultimate sacrifice.