HUDSON: Remembering our Vietnam Veterans

If you ever get the chance to visit Washington, D.C., one of the must-see stops on your visit is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It’s a striking, beautiful monument. A slick black granite wall with more than 58,000 names inscribed on it, the memorial serves as a strong reminder of the sacrifice of so many of our fellow Americans. More than 58,000 men and women gave their lives or remain missing. It is our sacred duty to remember them and to care for their brothers and sisters who made it home.

That’s why I was pleased when Congress and President Donald Trump passed a law to establish March 29 as National Vietnam War Veterans Day. This year was the first annual recognition of this special day. I was proud to join you all in recognition of the men and women who didn’t get a proper welcome home from the war, and to say a prayer and remember the fallen soldiers. To these heroes, thank you for answering the call. And to their families, thank you for your sacrifice. We are forever grateful.

As representative of the fastest-growing veteran population in the nation, I consider taking care of all of our veterans as my greatest responsibility. That includes working tirelessly to ensure the needs of our district’s veterans are met both in casework and in legislation before Congress. And it includes making sure their service is recognized, honored, and respected.

In Hoke County last week, I joined residents of Spring Lake to celebrate President Trump signing my bill to rename the town’s post office after their beloved town historian and World War II veteran Howard B. Pate Jr. I was proud to help lead those efforts, and I’m thrilled his legacy will be honored forever when folks visit the Howard B. Pate Jr. Post Office.

To honor our active duty troops, I visited Fort Bragg where I partnered with the USO of North Carolina and Delta Children to host a crib giveaway event for junior enlisted soldiers who are expecting a child. I was thrilled to be part of this event that made such a positive impact on so many — we gave away 500 cribs in all. We are all able to sleep safe and sound at night because of these families and their sacrifice. They shouldn’t have to worry about giving their precious children a safe place to sleep.

Another issue that impacts families in our community is the opioid epidemic. With that in mind, I held a roundtable discussion at Serenity House in Concord with local leaders, local officials, law enforcement, health care professionals and members of our community fighting addiction to see how we can better work together to combat this crisis. Serenity House is a great example of local action and a beacon of hope for people struggling with addiction. I’ll continue to support our local experts and work with them and others on the front lines to confront these challenges in our community.