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Every November 11th, we recognize those who have answered our nation’s call to service and honor the sacrifices of all our nation’s veterans. Together as Americans we pay tribute to our country’s bravest heroes – our women and men who have worn our nation’s uniform.

Originating as Armistice Day, this national observation first started in 1918 to honor those who served during World War I. Thirty-six years later, after World War II and Korean War, Congress officially declared November 11th to be Veterans Day, to honor all Americans who had served in the U.S. Armed Forces.

We are proud 228,000 veterans call Iowa home and continue to contribute greatly to our great state. They are our parents and children, our neighbors and our friends. They are irreplaceable in our communities throughout the state, and though we set aside this day to recognize their service, our appreciation cannot be reserved for only one day.

Our Iowa heroes help make up the 21 million veterans nationwide – veterans who have served from World War II to the Korean War, from Vietnam to Iraq to Afghanistan, and in so many other conflicts and missions to protect our country and freedom around the globe.

They are Americans who have made remarkable sacrifices to protect the freedoms we hold so dear – freedoms such as our right to free speech, our right to practice the religion of our choosing, and even our right to petition our government without fear of retribution. These are liberties many individuals from all over the world can only dream of. They are the cornerstone of our democracy here in the United States and are inalienable thanks to those who are willing to protect them.

Today, we continue to have brave men and women currently serving in defense of our country, our liberties, and our way of life. Veterans Day is also a reminder of these military members who have answered our nation’s call to serve, and continue to put themselves in harm’s way.

It is our responsibility to look out for them, to support them, and ensure we live up to the promises we’ve made to them when they return home.

Today and every day, I am humbled to join folks across the country as we show appreciation for those who have served our nation. May God bless our veterans, their families, and our service members.

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