Senator Murray commemorates Veterans Day at Evergreen Washelli Cemetery Veterans Day ceremony

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Sen. Murray at Evergreen Washelli
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

On Veterans' Day, November 11, 2023, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee and a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, delivered remarks at the Evergreen Washelli Cemetery Veterans Day Ceremony in Seattle.

The daughter of a World War II veteran and the first woman to both chair and serve on the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Murray has long focused on ensuring Congress lives up to its obligations to our veterans.

“My dad wasn’t one to call attention to his service—he didn’t do it for attention after all. Like so many others, he did it for his country. He did it to keep our nation safe. That’s something I think about often, because it’s something I see all the time in so many of the incredible veterans I meet,” Murray said at the ceremony today. 
“And it’s why Veterans Day is so personal, so precious, to me—because I know folks like my Dad so often don’t ask for the recognition they deserve, or the help they need—and they shouldn’t have to! That’s why we, as a nation, have to make sure that we never take our veterans for granted, and that we never let our debts to them go unpaid.”

As a voice for Washington state’s veterans in the Senate, Senator Murray has consistently fought to make sure our country fulfills its promise to our veterans and their families. While Chair of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, Murray oversaw the initial implementation of the Caregiver Support Program, and successfully pushed to expand the program in the years since. 

Murray wrote the VOW to Hire Heroes Act, which was signed into law by President Obama and brought about major changes to lower unemployment among veterans and help transitioning servicemembers and veterans find good jobs. 

A longtime champion of federal investments in veterans’ housing, Murray successfully helped to restart the HUD-VASH program in 2008 and has consistently fought to fund the program since; including helping to secure $50 million in additional HUD-VASH vouchers in last year’s government funding bill.

Senator Murray helped pass the PACT Act into law last year, which expanded health care benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxics in the line of duty. 

She takes her oversight role seriously, and is fighting to ensure VA is living up to its promise to provide high-quality care for veterans, including holding VA accountable for fixing the botched rollout of its Electronic Health Record (EHR) Modernization program. 

The NorthWest Junior Pipe Band played for the ceremonies
Photo by Steven H. Robinson

Murray is pushing to pass her EHR Program RESET Act, which would restructure, enhance, and improve the new EHR program while increasing oversight — and she leads many other bills that would improve quality of life and care for veterans, including the bipartisan Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long Term Care Act and Helping Heroes Act, legislation to help veterans start their families by expanding access to fertility services, and the BUILD for Veterans Act, which would modernize and streamline the delivery of VA medical facilities and other infrastructure projects.

Senator Murray has also led Congress in establishing child care centers at VA facilities and military bases, and since 2019, she has secured hundreds of millions of dollars for new military child care center construction that has increased vital access to child care across all services. 

Senator Murray originally authored the VA child care pilot program in 2008 as part of her Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act in order to assist parents in need of child care during medical appointments at VA facilities. and she has consistently fought to fund the program and establish permanent reauthorization.

Earlier this month, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Fiscal Year 2024 funding bill for military construction, the VA, and related agencies that Senator Murray wrote as Chair of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee. 

The legislation provides more than $582 million for specific Washington state veterans and military construction projects across Washington state and, among other national priorities, would increase funding for women veterans’ health care, veterans’ homelessness prevention, and veterans’ mental health —specifically to expand suicide prevention efforts — as well as boost funding to fully implement the VA Caregivers program and expand the national child care pilot program at VA that Senator Murray launched.

“We have to make sure we live up to the promise we made our veterans, and to the American ideals they fought for.

“So to all of the veterans here today, and their families—thank you for your service, thank you for your sacrifice.

“And know, I am working every day in the United States Senate to get you and your family the support you need. I am working every day to build the future you deserve. I am working every day to strengthen our democracy and the nation you fought to protect.

“I know that you would never stop fighting for our country, and I am going to make sure your country never stops fighting for you.”


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