Senators Honor America’s Veterans

Alaska’s senators are honoring veterans in Washington on Friday. The Senate’s votes this week prevented them from coming home, but they’re attending events recognizing veterans, and both are launching projects to reach out to Alaska’s men and women who have served.

Senator Lisa Murkowski is attending a ceremony this morning at the Vietnam Women’s Veterans Memorial in DC, and this afternoon will go to a Habitat for Humanity event with retired General Stanley McChrystal that features volunteerism by the military community.

She’s also launching a “Soldier Spotlight” project. It’s in collaboration with the Library of Congress’s ongoing Veterans History Project. Murkowski’s office will highlight an Alaskan veteran each month, posting online a biography and interview with him or her. Senator Murkowski says it’s designed to honor and bring attention to service-members, and learn from their stories.

Senator Mark Begich is also creating an online platform for veterans, his office opened today a “Heroes Hub” on his website. It’s a clearing house of contacts and information for veterans on everything from health benefits to finding jobs. Senator Begich says it’s also a place to create community.

“It will be really a service center where veterans can go to, active military can go to, see what benefits and services they can have access to, but also another piece which I think is a very exciting piece – is it will be an opportunity for people to tell us about their veteran, their hero out there, their Alaska hero. So it’s really engaging Alaskans and being part of this bigger family, which is the Alaskan veterans family,” Begich said.

Friday, Senator Begich and his family will visit Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the grave of an Alaskan.

Begich says it will be particularly poignant this year for his family, who recently lost his father-in-law, a former Army colonel.

Thursday, the Senate unanimously passed a veteran’s hire bill.

The only veteran on Alaska’s Congressional delegation, Representative Don Young, isn’t attending Veterans Day events, according to his office. He put out a statement last night commending service-members and calling on Congress not to make budget cuts that hurt them. Young served in the U.S. Army’s 41st Tank Battalion in the 1950s.

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