Congresswoman Waters' Memorial Day Statement
"On Memorial Day, we come together as Americans to celebrate and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our country, in the name of liberty and equality. The gratitude and appreciation we have for their service is beyond measure. Without the courageous efforts of the men and women of our Armed Forces, our country would not be the democracy it is today.
"Today, I am pleased to join the residents of Lawndale, Hawthorne and Inglewood as we honor and remember the patriotic sacrifices of our military men and women. We especially salute the servicemen and servicewomen of the 43rd Congressional District and the state of California.
"Although the War in Iraq has come to a close, there are thousands of troops still on active duty in Afghanistan. As these soldiers return home, we must keep our commitments to our country's two million troops and reservists, their families, and the 22 million veterans among us.
"Right now in Congress, we must seize the opportunity to overcome a growing obstacle to the health and well-being of these soldiers by ensuring that they have timely access to the benefits that they have earned. At the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), there are nearly 900,000 pending claims, of which over 600,000 are backlogged. The backlog of disability claims at the VA is a stain on the conscience of our country. I am pleased to see that the VA has recently taken action to expedite claims decisions for our veterans. In addition, I support a package of legislation that was introduced in the House last week that will reduce the backlog, promote innovation and speed up the claims process.
"On the battlefield, the military pledges to leave no soldier behind. As a nation, let it be our pledge that when our troops return home, we leave no veteran behind. On Memorial Day and every day, let us honor their service with actions that fulfill our commitment to our troops, their families, and our veterans – actions that are worthy of our grateful nation."