For more than 200 years, countless brave men and women have defended, fought and sacrificed for this nation- helping to create and protect American democracy and the country and freedoms we all love so dearly. Our service members are real-life heroes, who personify bravery and courage, and deserve our endless gratitude and respect. With two brothers who served in the military, I know firsthand the sacrifices our veterans and their families have made in order to protect and serve our amazing country. Their bravery, allegiance, and heroism make me proud to be an American. We are extremely blessed to be home to more than 400,000 veterans here in South Carolina.
As the fall approaches so does this upcoming Veterans Day- a time to remember and honor the service of our country’s brave veterans. This year, I want to stop and reflect on a very special group of veterans: women veterans. Women have played a vital role in our nation’s armed forces, and our state is home to more than 43,000 female veterans. While often disguised or listed under aliases in early years, women have been a part of war efforts all the way back to the American Revolution. During the World Wars, more than 360,000 women served, often filling crucial roles in medical and administrative jobs. Since then, women in our military have taken on our nation’s toughest battles, and filled positions in our highest ranks. Today, women make up more than 15% of our armed forces, and women veterans make up almost 2 million of our country’s 22 million veterans.
Their importance cannot be overlooked. Their achievements must not be forgotten. And they deserve special recognition this Veterans Day. This year, on Saturday, November 10th, I will be hosting an event to honor South Carolina’s women veterans. I am also excited to share that my friend and colleague, Senator Joni Ernst, will be joining us as the keynote speaker. As a combat veteran herself, holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Iowa National Guard, she will certainly bring a powerful and passionate message that will resonate will all those in attendance.
May God bless each of our courageous veterans – past and present – and their families. These are true American heroes, and we should continue to honor them today and every day. I look forward to Veterans Day, and hope you join me and my staff as we celebrate the wonderful women veterans of South Carolina.♦