Senator John ThuneOver the last few weeks we have witnessed turbulence in various parts of the world, most notably in Egypt. As we watch these events unfold, we are reminded of how blessed we are as Americans to live in a free and vibrant nation, thanks to generations of sacrifice made by men and women in uniform.
South Dakota has a proud legacy of military service, which has undoubtedly contributed to our country's freedom. Countless individuals from our state have answered the nation's call to defend freedom; one would likely be hard pressed to find a person in South Dakota who does not have a family member or friend who has worn our nation's uniform.
While serving our country, many of these selfless men and women endured physical, emotional, and mental harm, all so that we can enjoy our liberty today. In his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865, President Lincoln called on his fellow countrymen to remember these soldiers and to, "care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan."
Nearly 150 years later, I ask you to join me in following President Lincoln's call to show our gratitude to these courageous soldiers by participating in the National Salute to Veterans Week. This year, the week of February 13th-19th has been designated as a time to show appreciation to our veterans, raise awareness about the role VA hospitals and clinics play within our communities, and mobilize individuals to visit and volunteer at VA hospitals.
South Dakota has excellent VA clinics and hospitals that are doing great work day in and day out to serve those who continue to live with the physical, mental, and emotional scars of battle. I encourage all South Dakotans to take a moment out of your day to visit or volunteer at one of these facilities, or simply thank a veteran for their sacrifice. May God bless all who have served our great state and nation.