Murkowski: “Freedom Is Not Free”

Senator Honors Alaska’s Military on Veterans Day

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today shared the following thoughts and reflections in observance of Veterans Day:

“On this Veterans Day, I want to pay my own tribute to those who wore the uniform of our great Nation and remind all of Alaska of the tremendous sacrifice they bore when our nation called. Theirs is the highest calling of public service.

“We like to say that everything is bigger in Alaska.  That goes for our veteran population as well.  We have more veterans per capita in our state than any other state in the union.  They are our colleagues, our friends, our next door neighbors – and I am proud that they are such an ingrained part of the Alaska way of life. Nationally, only one percent of Americans serve in the military. But Alaska sets the example.  We are on a first-name basis with our heroes, never take them for granted, and together we bear a solemn obligation to take care of them when they lay down their arms and transition to civilian life.

“Our armed forces guard our interests worldwide and protect our way of life.  All that America has would lose significance if it wasn’t for the efforts and sacrifices the men and women in uniform who deter our adversaries and defend us from those who would do us harm.

 “Sadly, homelessness, suicide, and joblessness are stubbornly high among our veterans.  Others suffer in silence with hidden wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other indignities from the hardship of our Nation’s wars.  When I talk to veterans in Alaska, I’m often reminded of their challenges gaining access to the benefits they’ve earned or to the compassion they deserve.  So today, I charge Alaskans and all Americans to consider how you can make a difference in a veteran’s life.  Though many of us go out of our way to express gratitude to them when we see them, actions speak louder than words.

“Finally, I want to offer my personal thanks to our veterans and their families for their selfless gift to our Nation.  But freedom is not free.  We all owe you a debt of gratitude for the sacrifices you have made so that we might enjoy the blessings of liberty.  While words fall woefully short of expressing our appreciation, we pause to honor and thank you for your service this Veterans Day.”