Good morning. For over 90 years now, Americans have set aside this day and this hour to honor the men and women who have served this country, in peace and in war, while wearing the uniforms of the United States of America.
It’s a day of remembrance, a day of thanks, a day of prayers, and a day of promises—promises that the sacrifices of those who have served and are still serving will not be forgotten; that returning warriors will not bear their wounds alone; that their families will receive help in facing uncertain futures; and that the survivors of those who do not return will be embraced and cared for by a grateful Nation.
To keep these promises, the Congress established the Department of Veterans Affairs. Thirty percent of VA’s workforce are Veterans themselves—selfless Americans, dedicated to meeting the needs of our Nation’s Veterans each day.
Veterans do not strive alone. The vision of our President, the leadership and support of the Congress, the concerted efforts of our Veteran Service Organizations, the good people at VA, and the American people themselves are needed to address and resolve the complex and complicated challenges facing Veterans, especially during difficult economic times.
Last year, President Obama and the Congress provided VA the largest single-year budget increase in over 30 years. The President’s 2011 budget request would increase VA’s 2010 funding by another 10 percent. Over the past 22 months, VA has begun addressing some longstanding issues with critical, bi-partisan support—
We will continue our efforts on behalf of Veterans on every front—increasing their access to benefits and healthcare services, eliminating the disability claims backlog in 2015, and ending Veteran homelessness in 2014. With the leadership of the President, and the continued support of the Congress, we will provide quality care and timely benefits to those who have sacrificed the most on behalf of our great Nation.
Our special guest, today, fully shares the President’s commitment to America’s Veterans. He has seen his own son off to war, endured the long wait for that son’s return, and felt the special pride of knowing that the burden of wartime service was not left entirely to other families.
Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored, personally and professionally, to present to you a patriot in his own right—the Vice President of the United States of America, Joe Biden.