Their view: Senator thanks New Mexico veterans

U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., issued the following statement in honor of our nation’s veterans:

Each Veterans Day is a solemn occasion when we, as a nation, reflect and show gratitude to those who have served or are currently serving in our military and the families who support them. I’d especially like to thank New Mexico’s veterans for their commitment to protect our country and its interests. New Mexico has a long and proud history of military service, and we are honored to have many living testaments to American bravery in our state.

This bravery has been exhibited by those who fought for the Union in the Civil War at Glorieta Pass, by the National Guardsmen who were captured at Bataan, and the Navajo codetalkers who safeguarded our military secrets.

New Mexicans have displayed their courage defending our country on the frozen steppes of Korea, in the jungles of Vietnam, and on desert sands during the first Gulf War. And today, this tradition lives on by our sons and daughters who have selflessly served in Afghanistan and Iraq and in countless other countries where Americans are deployed.

While the needs may be different, America’s obligation to our veterans holds true regardless of whether one served in WWII or has only recently returned from a tour of duty. To honor this noble service, I am working to ensure all our veterans continue to have access to quality and affordable health care, receive full payment of their benefits, and that our veterans have the support they need to get a college degree.

In order to keep these commitments to our veterans, President Obama’s budget for the next year will continue the historic increases Congress has provided for veterans’ programs in the past few years, totaling an extra $25 billion over the next five years to improve care and service to veterans. Congress has taken significant action to ensure that the VA has the resources to meet the health care needs of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, including increased medical and prosthetic research in key areas, such as mental health, traumatic brain injury, and spinal cord injury.

I am proud that Congress passed landmark legislation this year that symbolizes our commitment to honoring and caring for our nation’s veterans.