Veterans Day is a great time to remember the American heroes who have served our country in war and peace in the far corners of the world, and a great time to express appreciation to political leaders who have been powerful voices for the interests of veterans in the halls of government.
One such champion of the cause of veterans is Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), who has long served on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, was chairman of the committee when Democrats controlled the Senate, and is now the ranking Democrat on the committee with Republicans in control of the Senate.
Sanders has supported some military actions, such as the military response to the crisis in Kosovo during the Clinton years and the campaign in Afghanistan after the terrorist attacks in 2001, and has opposed other military actions, including his strong and consistent opposition to the Iraq War that was unwisely initiated after the attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. But whether he has supported or opposed different military initiatives, Sanders has always fought for the interests of veterans in good times and bad.
As a leader on the Veterans Affairs Committee, Sanders has worked closely with major veterans organizations and with leading champions of veterans in the Senate. He has worked closely with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and former Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), among many others. McCain and Webb deserve a special commendation as genuine war heroes who served bravely in combat and as aggressive champions of veterans’ causes throughout their time in public life.
Sanders has been at the forefront of battles to improve healthcare and benefits for vets, expand employment opportunities for vets after they return home from battle, and improve the Veterans Administration after the scandals that plagued the system. Whether programs to help vets were originally sponsored or supported by McCain, Webb or other senators or were personally spearheaded by Sanders, he has alway been there for the vets.
In America, every day should be Veterans Day. We owe a great debt to our vets and to the many organizations that serve them well and advance their cause. Dedicated public servants such as John McCain, Jim Webb and Bernie Sanders continue to do their part to help vets today. As the challenges continue in the service of vets who have served our country so well, we can count on them to support veterans because for them, every day is indeed Veterans Day.
The above was written by Brent Budowsky, who was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics.