Veterans Day - 2015
On Veterans Day, Americans pause to salute the incredibly brave men and women who have given their lives for our country to protect and defend freedom and democracy. Far from home on distant battlefields, our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have fought and died in the name of liberty. On this somber day of remembrance, our entire nation pauses to honor their sacrifice and acknowledge their defense of our country.
In our congressional, every day the many men and women working at the Fisher House Foundation at the Palo Alto VA are keeping our promise to veterans. This year we celebrate 25 years of their nationwide program which provides a “home away from home” for the families of veterans receiving care from a VA medical center.
I’m so proud to have helped secure the construction of the nation’s largest Fisher House in Palo Alto in 2006. The Fisher House at the Palo Alto VA serves the families of veterans who are going through long-term rehabilitation programs, including traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and vision rehabilitation.
In 2016, ground will be broken on a second Fisher House to meet the growing demand for accommodations at the Palo Alto VA for families from California and around the country who travel to be with their loved ones and help them rehabilitate.
During my September visit to the Palo Alto Fisher House, I saw once again how the work is helping veterans and their families heal. On any given night the Palo Alto Fisher House accommodates 20 families at a time, offering a comfortable and supportive environment during an emotionally trying time. Since opening in 2006, the Palo Alto location has served 6,724 families of veterans receiving care at the Palo Alto VA, with 683 families housed last year, but the demand for the Palo Alto Fisher House vastly exceeds its supply of suites.
Another effort in our congressional district on behalf of our veterans is the Defenders Lodge, called “a haven for our heroes.” The Defenders Lodge is yet another vital part of the treatment of thousands of veterans who come to the Palo Alto VA from many distances, but only need short-term accommodations. The Defenders Lodge serves as a free hotel on the grounds of the Palo Alto VA so that treatment is never more than a short walk away from comfortable lodging. Each year the Defenders Lodge provides approximately 20,000 nights of stay for veteran patients.
On the battlefield, the military pledge is to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, we pledge that when our troops return home, we leave no veteran behind. I’m proud to say that within our congressional district, we’re upholding this pledge and more.
So on this Veterans Day, let us honor their service with continued actions that fulfill our commitment to our troops, their families and our veterans—actions that are worthy of them from a deeply grateful nation.
Anna G. Eshoo
Member of Congress