Honoring and Supporting Our Nation's Veterans

November 11, 2013

Dear Friends,

Each year, Veterans Day serves as an opportunity to pause and remember the men and women who have served in our armed forces to protect and defend our country. Today, we have over 25 million living veterans among us and over 30,000 in the 18th Congressional District.

Their service spans generations—from World War I, to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—and they will never be forgotten. Each one shares the same devotion to preserving our country's freedoms and values, and we can never thank them enough, nor fully repay them for the sacrifices they and their families have made on our behalf. In return, we must stand up for them by providing them with the care and support they've earned.

In recent years, I’m proud to have supported the important steps taken in Congress to help our veterans, including passing a new Post 9-11 GI Bill; expanding access to VA health care; improving health services for all veterans; providing greater support for our military families; and modernizing benefits our troops have earned.
More recently, I’ve had two distinct honors I want to share with you.

Earlier this year, I helped open a new mental health facility as part of the Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. The Mental Health Learning Center is a $10 million facility that houses training and education for staff to improve practices and procedures for mental health treatment for veterans and their families. When veterans come home, regardless of the policies that took them overseas, we owe them the best. It’s essential to have professionals who are highly trained and are continuing to learn serving our veterans.

In June, I was able to help a veteran in our community whose bravery 57 years ago went unrecognized. Mountain View resident and Airman 1st Class Juan C. Aranda Jr. put the lives of others before his own when he heroically saved four people stranded in Hurricane Santa Clara that struck Puerto Rico in August 1956. Despite being praised by the local mayor and the Red Cross for his actions and receiving notice from the Air Force that “the wheels were rolling for an award,” Mr. Aranda never heard from the Air Force again. When I learned this, I went to work to secure the honor he deserved. In June, Airman 1st Class Juan C. Aranda Jr. was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for his bravery at a ceremony at Moffett Federal Airfield.

I’m proud to salute America’s veterans on this day, but honoring our veterans cannot be confined just to Veterans Day. We must honor them every day by fulfilling our promises to them, just as they fulfilled their promise to us and our nation. Please join me in expressing our profound gratitude to those who have served and protected us with such bravery, honor and distinction, and those that continue to do so today.

Most gratefully,

Anna G. Eshoo

Member of Congress