Via the internet
In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) honored the 75th Anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor:
“My heart is in Hawaii today. At almost this exact time, on this very day 75 years ago, the first bombs were dropped in the attack on Pearl Harbor. More than 2,400 people perished on that fateful day that will forever live in infamy.
“We remember our brothers and sisters who paid the ultimate price, and those who answered the call to serve in the months and years that followed, including our two former Senators Inouye and Akaka, and the more than 320,000 who gave their lives in that war.
“We remember the Japanese Americans whose lives forever changed when after the attack on Pearl Harbor, they were thrown into internment camps. And the brave Nisei, who in spite of these atrocities, volunteered to serve, forming the Nisei-only “Go For Broke” 442nd Infantry Regiment, serving courageously, and sacrificing greatly.
“May we never forget what happened at Pearl Harbor, the lessons learned, and the sacrifices of all who served.”
Background: Last month, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard reintroduced a House resolution originally authored by Congressman Takai that commemorates the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and honoring the more than 320,000 men and women who gave their lives in defense of the United States during World War II.
H.R. 5099, as amended, the Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed for Veterans Act of 2016, also referred to as the CHIP IN for Vets Act of 2016, would authorize the Department of Veterans Affairs to carry out a pilot program to allow non-federal entities – including state or city governments, nonprofit organizations and benefactors – to donate up to five facilities to VA.
H.R. 6435 would allow directors of VA’s regional networks to enter into a contract with an appropriate non-VA entity with expertise in health care evaluation to investigate any VA medical center within that director’s jurisdiction.
These bills now await consideration by the Senate. Following House passage of the bills, Chairman Miller released the below statement.
“The support and involvement of outside stakeholders is absolutely crucial to VA’s success, and these bills would help facilitate more of that. H.R. 6435 allows vital third party oversight of VA facilities, and the CHIP IN for Vets Act would broaden the pool of resources available to VA for its infrastructure needs. I’m proud to stand with my colleagues in passing these bills and urge the Senate to consider them without delay.”
After unanimous House passage earlier this month, the Senate voted today to send the Gold Star Families Voices Act (HR 4511) to the President for his signature. The legislation, authored by Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), will allow immediate family members of servicemembers who are killed or missing in action or have died as a result of their service to participate in the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project.
“Today’s vote honors the men and women who gave ‘the last full measure of devotion’ in the service of our Nation by allowing their family members to tell their stories, so that all Americans can hear, appreciate, remember, and honor these patriots,” said Smith, former chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “Preserving their memories will allow current and future generations of Americans to better understand and appreciate the sacrifices borne by those who served in uniform, the realities of war, and the narrative that helps define who we are as a nation.”
“Senate passage today—which was secured by the hard work of my good friend and colleague Chairman Roy Blunt—will build on this collection and ensure we record and remember the lives and sacrifices of all who have served and provide the very deserving family members with the opportunity to create a lasting record of their fallen loved ones,” Smith continued.
Congress created the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress in 2000 to collect and catalog the stories of American war veterans. The project has been a great success. Earlier this year, the Library announced that it reached a milestone: it has collected more than 100,000 testimonies of veterans who have served in military engagements since World War I in our permanent record.
Currently the project accepts only first-hand accounts of living veterans, unintentionally leaving out the men and women who did not return from the battlefield. Under Smith’s bill, immediate family members can participate on a veteran’s behalf including parents, spouses, siblings and/or children.
After passage in the Senate, Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) added: “We would not be the nation we are today if not for the profound acts of courage and selflessness of our fallen heroes. We, as Americans, owe it to these men and women to know their names, to honor their deeds, and to preserve their memories. The Gold Star Families Voices Act makes an invaluable project even better by giving the family members of our missing and fallen service members the opportunity to share their stories and ensure they become a part of our nation’s historical record. I thank American Gold Star Mothers, Inc. and Representative Chris Smith for championing this bill, and my Senate colleagues for getting it to the President’s desk.”
“Congress created the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project to turn the memories of our warfighters into our history and memorialize the lives of heroes. Yet, conspicuously missing from the rich project’s history are the veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Smith.