Nothing has made me more proud to be an American than seeing, firsthand, the job our troops do under difficult circumstances to keep our country safe. Just last month, I had the chance to travel to Afghanistan and to meet with Captain Chris Menden and our National Guard 1157th, who are doing an excellent job providing route security for U.S. forces drawing down in Afghanistan. I also talked with General John Allen, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, who couldn’t be more thankful for the work our troops are doing and more excited to have the help of western Wisconsin’s 229th Engineer Company.
The dedicated troops and veterans who have served our country to promote and defend freedom deserve our honor and thanks this Veterans Day. The debt that we owe to them is immeasurable. Their sacrifices and those of their families can never be repaid. As we’ve ended the war in Iraq and have begun to draw down troops in Afghanistan, many service members are returning home from the Middle East. Over the past decade, the remarkable sacrifice and service of our men and women in uniform has given us the opportunity to make the United States stronger around the world and at home, building an American future worthy of our veterans’ sacrifice.
What better way to honor the service of these veterans than by making sure their experiences are preserved for future generations. This Veterans Day, I encourage you to ask a veteran in your life to share their story as part of the Veterans History Project. I authored legislation to create the Veterans History Project in 2000, as way for our nation to permanently protect the stories of those who fought for our freedom. Through the project, veterans can share their experiences and leave behind tangible accounts of the service, sacrifice, and courage they gave on behalf of the country and their fellow Americans. It is these living testaments that provide the most powerful record of the sacrifice and hardship of our nation at peace and at war.
Today, the Veterans History Project is the largest oral history collection with 80,000 stories. Nearly 1,000 Wisconsin veterans have shared their stories, but there are still many stories that can and should be told. Recording a story is easy. Veterans can even submit drawings or journal entries. For more information or for assistance, contact Mark in my office at 608-782-2558, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848 to request a project kit. More information is also available at www.loc.gov/vets.