One of the greatest privileges of serving Montana in Washington, D.C., has been hearing the most admirable stories of Montanans who have fought for our nation all across the globe.
Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow served as an Army scout during World War II and fulfilled the requirements to become a war chief. Ben Steele served in the U.S. Army Air Corps and was captured by the Japanese; he was a prisoner of war for 1,244 days during WWII. David Thatcher took part in the Doolittle Raid and was awarded the Silver Star. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo,” you’ll have seen Robert Walker play the part of Corporal Thatcher.
This year I led a bill in the Senate to designate three VA facilities after these Montanans, to preserve their legacies and serve as a reminder of our nation’s heroes. We owe a debt of gratitude to men and women like Dr. Joseph Medicine Crow, Ben Steele, David Thatcher and many others.
Each Nov. 11 we gather from all corners of our state to say thank you to our country’s veterans for their selfless service to defend the freedoms that we hold dear. And we’ve done so for nearly a century. The first Veterans Day was celebrated on Nov. 11, 1919, the first year anniversary of the end of WWI.
As the son of a U.S. Marine, I have long had an appreciation for those who serve our nation in uniform. My father enlisted in the 58th Rifle Company in Billings in 1957 and it was through him that I first learned of the sacrifice and courage displayed by those who serve in our armed services.
They’ve saved lives, provided humanitarian relief and payed the price of freedom for you and me. They are America’s best and most honored. They are our veterans. They’re all around us every day and on this day, we honor them.