This Memorial Day, we remember and honor the American heroes who gave their lives for our country. Our Gold Star families deserve respect this day, and every day, of the year.
My own father, Andrew, was a World War II veteran who enlisted in the Army as a private. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge as Captain Capuano, where he was severely injured. My father was lucky enough to come home to Somerville after the war, unlike so many who served beside him. Captain Capuano left the the Army with medals for valor — and he also left the Army as an 80-percent disabled veteran. My uncle, also a veteran, worked as a veteran service agent. After he passed away, we created an annual award for high school graduates who entered the service, in his honor.
With veterans in my own family, I understand the struggles and sacrifices our military families go through today, and I’m committed to protecting all service members and their families. Our women and men in uniform are willing to put themselves in harm’s way to defend the values our country was founded on. As a nation, we owe them a great deal.
To honor those we have lost, we must take care of their fellow service members who come back home. We owe all veterans the services and support they need — it’s unacceptable for service members to return to inadequate care in the United States of America.
I take my responsibility to support our veterans very seriously. That’s why I’ve fought to improve health care services for veterans, expand affordable housing opportunities, increase services related to job training, and ensure that our military has the equipment necessary to safely serve. I fully support expanding the GI Bill, with enhanced education assistance available to veterans, and extending these benefits to military families in certain circumstances. This initiative is an important economic resource for veterans who return from service. It gives them the opportunity to participate in job training or learn a new career so they can better care for themselves, and their families.
I’ve also fought to protect the veterans’ health facilities located in Greater Boston. With my colleagues in the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, I’ve ensured the VA Medical Center in Jamaica Plain, as well as VA clinics in Dorchester and other areas of Boston, are preserved. Access to healthcare is so important to our veterans and their families. The federal government must expand and improve services for veterans, not limit them.
As we observe Memorial Day, I know nothing can ever change the loss our Gold Star families feel. But I hope each and every family knows that their loved one’s sacrifice is remembered. The best way to honor the women and men who gave their lives for our country is to take care of their families, friends, and fellow service members. This Memorial Day, I ask everyone to take a moment to thank a veteran, and share an act of service in honor of those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.
Rep. Michael Capuno represents Charletown in the U.S. Congress.