Because so many have lost friends, family and neighbors in combat overseas, all too often we are reminded of the sacrifices made by our men and women in the military. Nearly 5,550 U.S. service members have been killed fighting in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Until our country can bring the troops home, we remember and honor the brave men and women who are proudly serving America and keeping us free.


Because so many have lost friends, family and neighbors in combat overseas, all too often we are reminded of the sacrifices made by our men and women in the military. Nearly 5,550 U.S. service members have been killed fighting in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Until our country can bring the troops home, we remember and honor the brave men and women who are proudly serving America and keeping us free.

Since 2006, Congress has made improving benefits to service members, veterans and their dependents one of its top priorities. Congress passed the largest single-year increase in VA funding in three decades, restored health care eligibility to non-disabled veterans with modest incomes, as well as authored the largest increase in veterans’ health funding in the entire history of the VA.

Congress has invested more than $1 billion renovating veterans’ hospitals and improving housing and child care for military families. And we passed a 21st Century GI Bill to ensure four-year college scholarships to veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as guaranteeing GI benefits to those children who have lost a parent on active duty since 9/11. We’ve taken those steps because of our deep respect for service members’ and veterans’ service, especially in this time of two wars.

I would like to thank all the current and former Minnesotans who are serving in the military. In the Minnesota National Guard alone, more than half of its 13,000 soldiers and airmen have been called to duty since 9/11. We all are thankful for their willingness to serve, and have the utmost faith in their ability to face the difficult and dangerous missions that lie ahead. Since 9/11 we realized the vital contribution the National Guard makes to our nation’s defense.

I pledge to continue my best effort to make certain that all those who serve our country receive the benefits and services they earned.

Memorial Day is a day of both sorrow and joy. While we mourn those lost in battle, we also celebrate the freedoms we currently enjoy thanks to those brave individuals. As we gather together over the long weekend to celebrate this important holiday, let us make sure to take a moment to remember and thank those who lost their lives in order to secure our futures.

Congressman Collin Peterson, D-Detroit Lakes, has represented Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District since 1990 and serves as Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee.