Wes Clark: Honoring D-Day
On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches
of Normandy and began the liberation of Europe during World War II.
Then, just 16 days after D-Day, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
signed the "GI Bill of Rights" into law - landmark legislation
honoring the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, providing
key education and training benefits to thank them for their service.
This Monday marks the 61st Anniversary of D-Day, an epic event in
the history of our nation and the world. While we take time to
remember this historic day and thank those brave liberators who
defended freedom in Europe and around the world, it's also important
to ask whether we're doing everything we can to honor the sacrifice
of today's armed forces and veterans, as America did with the first
In just the past 2 ½ years, more than 400,000 of our National Guard
and Reserves have been called up to active duty. In fact, Reserve
Components make up nearly half of our forces in Iraq.
Last week, House Democrats, led by my friend Rep. Gene Taylor of
Mississippi, attempted to do more to honor our Guard and Reserves
for their sacrifice. The House Armed Services Committee passed a
bipartisan amendment to provide full access to TRICARE - the
military health program - to all members of the Guard and Reserves
and their families, a gap in our military health system that is long
overdue to be fixed.
Yet despite the fact that 20% of our Reservists lack health
insurance, Republican Chairman Duncan Hunter stripped this common
sense amendment from the bill, denying our Guard and Reserve the
health care benefits they deserve, claiming we couldn't afford it.
That's plain wrong. If we can afford tax cuts for the wealthiest
Americans, we can certainly afford health care benefits for our
brave men and women in harm's way halfway around the world.
Tell your Members of Congress to support the GI Bill of Rights for
the 21st Century today!
Providing the National Guard and Reserves with the same health care
benefits as our active duty troops is the right thing to do. After
all, they're bearing a significant burden in Iraq and Afghanistan,
making sacrifices alongside the rest of our men and women in uniform.
Furthermore, at a time that our military is struggling to meet its
recruitment targets, we should be doing everything we can from a
practical standpoint to encourage Americans to serve and to stay in
the service once they've joined. Why should we make it difficult to
recruit and retain our National Guard and Reserves by denying them
Providing adequate health care is just one of many things we should
be doing to honor the service and sacrifice of our armed forces. And
Democrats are leading the way. I was proud to join House Democratic
leaders on Capitol Hill in April to introduce the new GI Bill of
Rights for the 21st Century.
Now it's time for us to call on Congress to act on this critical
legislation. Our brave men and women in uniform deserve better from
Tell your Members of Congress to support the new GI Bill today!
Then, after you've contacted your Members of Congress, invite
everyone you know to join us.
As we celebrate the 61st Anniversary of D-Day this Monday, let us
rededicate ourselves to doing everything we can to honor our brave
men and women in uniform for their service and sacrifice. Our armed
forces deserve no less.
P.S. Last Saturday, I gave the Democratic weekly radio address.
After signing my GI Bill petition, I invite you to listen to my
radio address on SecuringAmerica.com.