The American spirit was born on July 4th, 1776, when 56 patriots gathered in Philadelphia. The Declaration of Independence they had crafted with care and forged by vigorous debate was considered an act of high treason against a king. At the same time, it was an act of supreme loyalty to the highest aspirations of mankind – the unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Today, nearly 22 million Americans hold the distinguished title of Veteran, and more than 127,000 of those individuals live in our great State of Maine. As the daughter of a World War II Purple Heart recipient, Senator Collins learned first-hand of the sacrifice that these heroes and their families make to advance the cause of freedom. Fighting on behalf of our nation’s Veterans, Senator Collins has worked to support the needs of Veterans nationwide by protecting access to rural health care, holding the Department of Veterans Affairs accountable in the wake of scandal, and expediting the process for disabled veterans to get the services they need.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Access to Community Care for Veterans Act of 2015, legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King, passed the United States Senate today by unanimous consent. This legislation would require the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to expand eligibility of the Choice Program to cover veterans who reside more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest VA facility that offers the specific care they need. The bill must now be considered and passed by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the President.
More than a century and a half ago, as our nation faced its gravest crisis during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln spoke of the “mystic cords of memory, stretching from every patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land.’’
From the founding of our great nation to the conflicts of today, the men and women of our armed forces strengthen those mystic cords. From generation to generation, they add new and everlasting strands of valor, devotion to duty, and sacrifice.
In this season of giving, our thoughts turn to those who have given us the most precious gift of all: our freedom. We Mainers can be proud that an inspiring and generous expression of America’s gratitude began right here in our state.
Throughout our nation’s history, our citizens have left the safety of home to preserve our freedom and to extend the blessings of freedom to others. Each year, as we did recently, Americans pause on Veterans Day to honor these brave men and women for their duty, honor, and sacrifice.