WASHINGTON, DC – Today the House of Representatives approved H. Res. 1020, a resolution recognizing the tremendous service members of the Armed Forces have given to this nation, including the supreme sacrifices made by our wounded warriors. Congressman Brian Higgins, one of four original co-sponsors of the legislation and a member of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, recognized the men and women wounded in combat on the House floor today.
“Every day our military men and women risk their own personal safety as they defend our Nation’s safety and our citizens’ freedoms,” said Congressman Higgins. “Many return from duty forever physically or mentally changed as a result of their selfless service. This Nation owes our veterans the same commitment and dedication when they return that they so valiantly delivered while serving abroad.”
An estimated three-quarter of a million troops have been discharged since the war in Iraq began – many of whom with compromised mental and physical health. Approximately 260,000 have been treated at veterans’ health facilities, almost 100,000 have been diagnosed as having mental health conditions, and more than 200,000 have received some level of care from walk-in facilities.
Congressmen Peter Welch, Timothy Walberg, Todd Tiahrt were the others joining Congressman Higgins as original co-sponsors of H. Res. 1020.
Congressman Higgins noted that while the war is costing Americans an astonishing $338 million each and every day, the human cost to American military families is much greater.
In the House of Representative Chambers today, Congressman Higgins delivered the following speech in support of H. Res. 1020:
“I am proud to be an original cosponsor of House Resolution 1020. Thanks to advances in modern technology, many American soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan have lived through events that would have previously cost them their lives. Of the 1.6 million service members that have been deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom since September 2001, more than thirty thousand have been wounded in battle.
The numbers are staggering, but we are here today to acknowledge that these Wounded Warriors are not just statistics; they are men and women from across the country who have faced unique situations and struggles, and they have individual stories to tell. Last summer I had the honor to meet a young man from my district who was injured in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq that killed three other soldiers riding in the same Humvee. He suffered extensive injuries, including a broken back and elbow, and underwent two surgeries at a hospital in Germany before being transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Quick reactions by a medic meant that instead of being paralyzed he can now walk again, but only after extensive surgeries and painful rehabilitation. This young man is actually a lucky one, he was able to recover with the help of a caring family and a supportive wife. There are many others that are not as fortunate, and it is our responsibility to provide them with the best physical care and emotional support possible.
Over the last year, Congress has taken many steps to enhance the quality of care our veterans receive, including passing the largest increase in veterans’ health funding in history, but there is still more to be done. With this legislation we do a simple but necessary thing: we take a moment to thank the men and women of the Armed Services who have been wounded in the line of duty for their service and their sacrifice. I urge my colleagues to support the passage of H. Res. 1020.”