VFW NATIONAL COMMANDER TESTIFIES BEFORE CONGRESS
‘Our nation is still at war’
March 05, 2014
Watch the full testimony here.
During today’s testimony before a joint
hearing of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees, the national
commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. (VFW) expressed the
organization’s deep concern over America’s disregard for veterans.
concerns the VFW and patriots everywhere is that America has forgotten that OUR
NATION IS STILL AT WAR,” explained William A. Thien, commander-in-chief of the
VFW. “We have 38,000 men and women stationed inside Afghanistan fighting to
ensure the country doesn’t become a terrorist training ground again. We have
another 30,000 stationed in South Korea helping to preserve a 61-year-old
ceasefire that is looking more and more tenuous. We have tens of
thousands more service members stationed abroad helping to bring peace and
stability, and humanitarian assistance when and where it’s needed.”
Thien went on to address the war now being waged on American soil as well,
reminding lawmakers of the ongoing veterans’ fight to retain their promised
benefits and Quality of Life programs. He noted the passage of the recent COLA
penalty, an initiative that VFW was adamantly against since its introduction
late last year. “Some
believe the cost of war ends when the last troops leave Afghanistan. We know
this is not true, and that is why we need a fully funded state-of-the-art VA
health care system, benefits programs and cemetery system.”
He pledged that the more than 1.9 million members
of the VFW and its Auxiliaries will fight to preserve the safety and security
of America and the viability of its All-Volunteer Military. He also vowed to
fight attempts to force veterans, service members and their families to
shoulder an unfair share of the nation’s debt, and promised to continue the
fight for adequate funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as
for advance appropriations for its programs.
Thien explained to Congress that the VFW’s mission is to ensure that a nation
that creates veterans fulfills its sacred duty to care for them when they
return home. “The VFW exists to serve veterans, and that includes representing
them in Washington where the voice of one veteran is often overlooked and the
voice of servicemen and women is prohibited.
the VFW wants costs money, but everything the VFW wants is for someone
else—someone from every city and town in every congressional district, and in
every state and territory who swore an oath of allegiance to protect and defend
our great country and its Constitution,” Thien stated.
The testimony caps the 2014 Legislative Conference during
which more than 500 VFW members and leaders convened in Washington to meet with
their elected officials to discuss veterans issues and the VFW’s expectations.
Other noteworthy events from the conference include:
Rep. Joe Wilson (S.C.) receiving the VFW Congressional
Award in recognition of his outstanding service to our nation and for his
support and dedication to service members, veterans and their families.
The VFW hosted dinner at the National Press Club for 60
Wounded Warriors and caregivers from Walter Reed National Military Medical
Center along with their families.
The VFW named Madison Haley from Mount Pulaski, Ill., the
first-place winner of the annual Voice of Democracy scholarship competition and
winner of a $30,000 scholarship. Madison’s patriotic-themed essay received the
highest marks out of 40,000 participating high school students.
Alexis Canen from Glendive, Mont., was named the
first-place winner of VFW’s Patriot’s Pen competition, winning her a $5,000
Photo: VFW National Commander Bill Thien testifies before a joint hearing
of the Senate and House Veterans Affairs Committees.
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