Saturday, July 15, 2017DC
by Lawrence Fedewa | Jul 15, 2017, 12:01 AM
[Veterans are men and women who have had to live out the consequences of political decisions, often with dire results.] (Josh Bachman/The Las Cruces Sun-News via AP)
The Sixth Annual Bipartisan Tribute to Veterans and Those Who Serve in Congress was held in Washington on June 27, honoring veterans of military services and especially those who have continued their service to the nation in Congress.
The program began with a presentation of the flag by the Joint Armed Forces Color Guard, the National Anthem sung by Anthony Kearns, an invocation by the Chaplain of the House of Representatives Rev. Patrick Conroy, and a Pledge of Allegiance led by Pfc. Fame Academia and Will Hubbard. Hubbard is vice president of the Student Veterans Association, serving more than 1.1 million student veterans – the largest student organization in the country.
Other dignitaries in attendance included Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore, New Zealand Ambassador Tim Groser, Irish Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Lonergan, and many others. Shulkin’s presence underscored his commitment to work with Congress on reforming the Veterans’ administration, and the president’s pledge to make it a priority.
A long list of Congressional veterans in attendance were represented by Reps. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., and Steve Russell, R-Okla., at the podium. Coffman is the only member of Congress who served in both the Marine Corps and the Army. Russell was an Army Ranger and was part of the team that captured Saddam Hussein (Russell’s book, We Got Him, describes that episode in vivid detail).
Their remarks reflected a characteristic notable in all the speeches, what might be called a new seriousness about governing. These veterans, no matter their party allegiance, are a no-nonsense group, who have learned the importance of national policies and priorities in combat, risking their own lives and watching their comrades fall in battle.
To them, legislation is not a matter to be delayed, with decisions to be “kicked down the road” for fear of not being re-elected. These are men and women who have had to live out the consequences of political decisions, often with dire results.
The evening then honored Academia, retired Marine Cpl. Jeff DeYoung, and DeYoung’s war-dog, Cena.
Master of Ceremonies Jennifer Griffin, Fox News’ National Security Correspondent, told Academia’s extraordinary story. At 89 years old, he is a walking oral history of the World War II Japanese occupation of the Philippines.