Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tom Hayhurst on veterans

It was a divisive war in a troubled time. But when the moment came, I stood to serve my country. The war then was Vietnam . My tour was as a medical officer in the United States Air Force.

Now as then, our brave military men and women find themselves in harms way as conflicts rage around the world. I know the price of freedom. I have been witness to the costs of duty. I will never forget those who risked everything or those heroes who perished in America 's defense. I believe that the promises made to those who put themselves on the line for liberty's sake are promises that must be kept, especially in this time of war when we ask yet another generation to make the ultimate sacrifice.

I know the price of freedom. That's why my battle to aid our veterans has already begun. When the inpatient beds at our regional Veterans Administration hospital were threatened and little was being done, I joined with my fellow veterans to form Veterans for Better Health Care. Together we are fighting to save those essential services and keep them nearby. Together we are waging a war on the home front for those forgotten by the federal government and our elected representatives in Washington , D.C. Together we are pressing for action even as new veterans return from the front lines with long-term needs.

From my days in uniform, my life has followed a path of service, as a practicing critical-care physician in northeast Indiana and as a local elected official in my hometown. I was humbled to receive the Americanism Award of the Allen County Council of Veterans in 2005 and 2006. I believe that democracy lives in each of us. And that we cannot turn our backs on those who are the living symbols of our freedom.

When I am in the U. S. Congress, I will:
• Lead and energize the fight to save the inpatient beds at the Fort Wayne Veterans Administration Hospital .
• Work to obtain adequate funding for veterans' services and facilities.
• Do all within my power to ensure that our great nation and its people are safeguarded forever.
• Advocate forcefully on behalf of our active duty military, our veterans and their families for the health care they have earned and all their entitled benefits.
• Support in every way our veterans and members of the National Guard, Reserve and those on active duty in all branches of the military.
I know the price of freedom. I'm running for Congress because it's time for a representative who understands we never leave our troops behind.

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