In this week's Democratic Radio Address, Afghanistan war veteran Elliot Anderson gives his opinion on the best ways to honor our troops this Memorial Day.
"Good morning. This is Elliot Anderson. I spent four years on active duty with the Marine Corps, including a seven month deployment to Afghanistan. Now I am a member of the Individual Ready Reserve, living in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am especially proud to deliver the Democratic Radio Address on Memorial Day Weekend.
"Patriotism isn't a Democratic or a Republican value — it's an American value. I strongly oppose our involvement in Iraq's civil war, but I am still proud of my service to my country.
"No matter what any of us thinks about the war in Iraq, we all support our troops on the ground. The Democratic Party has always stood for that, both in words and action.
"This year, the Democratic-controlled Congress passed a budget that included $3.6 billion more for veterans' health care than the President asked for, and rejected fees that would have driven 200,000 veterans out of the VA health system. For veterans' medical care, it represents the largest increase in funding ever provided. In the recent supplemental bill for war funding, they gave the troops every penny requested by the Pentagon and more.
"Democrats added more than a billion dollars for Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles to protect our troops against roadside bombs — and another $2 billion to make sure that veterans returning home get the quality health care they deserve. Some of these funds will go to fix the awful conditions at Walter Reed Medical Center. No government that truly supports its troops would let the country's largest veteran's health facility fall into disrepair. All of these funds will ensure that the men and women in uniform have the equipment and support they need, whether they are deployed abroad or here at home.
"But I know I speak for many of my friends overseas when I say that the best way to honor the troops is to responsibly end our involvement in Iraq's civil war. As long as President Bush stays committed to the same policies that aren't working, it won't be easy. But I am proud to see Democrats and now some brave Republicans standing up to him.
"I said before that patriotism is not about politics. It's about loving our country. I would like to close by suggesting a way that you can show your patriotism and support for our troops on Memorial Day, and every day after. Visit www.treatsfortroops.com, www.anymarine.com, or www.booksforsoldiers.com. These websites, and others, make it easy for you to send a care package to show your appreciation for our troops, and your support means so much to all of us.
"I am Elliot Anderson. It has been my honor to deliver the weekly Democratic radio address. I'm proud to fight for our freedom, and proud of all of those who serve or have served to keep our nation strong. Semper Fi."