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Each year on November 11, we come together as individuals and as a nation to express our heartfelt gratitude to our veterans for the countless sacrifices they have made over the years on our behalf. Thanks to them, our nation is strong and free, and our American way of life that we are so justifiably proud of continues to be protected and preserved. Although Veterans Day is over for this year, our appreciation for our veterans should never be over.

Specifically, I rise today to honor our selfless men and women in the Armed Forces who have served and continue to serve in Operation Enduring Freedom. October 7th marked the 11th year the United States has been fighting the war in Afghanistan, and that is why the Senate recognized October 7th as Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans Day. Much has changed in the world and our lives in the last 11 years, but the United States remains committed to fighting for freedom in Afghanistan. More importantly – our brave military men and women have maintained their commitment to us. They fight to protect us, and to protect our freedoms. The war in Afghanistan is so physically far away; it can be easy to forget and get caught up in our daily lives. I ask every American to not forget our brave men and women are still overseas. I hope those courageous souls never fade from the hearts and minds of the people of the United States. In order to remember and honor the veterans’ service in Afghanistan, the United States Senate recognized October 7th as Operation Enduring Freedom Veterans Day.

I want to thank Andrew Koenig, a Marine and native of Casper, Wyoming, who reached out to my office with this idea of how to remind Americans of the war in Afghanistan we continue to fight. I thank him for his service and selfless dedication to all veterans and those currently serving.

Think of both October 7th and November 11th as a refresher of what it means to be an American. As you do, remember to take the first opportunity you have to thank a veteran for what we have received from their efforts. No one ever gets tired of being appreciated – especially our veterans.

The work our veterans began years ago continues today as our brave servicemen and women serve at outposts here in the United States and all over the world. Stationed far from family and friends, they have made a commitment to each one of us that they will do everything they possibly can to keep us safe and protected from harm.

Our country is recognized for its freedom and this is due to the men and women who serve in our outstanding military. They are patriotic, compassionate and courageous and set an example for us all to follow. In word and deed our veterans have shown their great love for our country. We are very grateful for their service. Thanks to our country’s veterans, the world is a much better place. God bless you.