Simi Valley, CA – Congresswoman Julia Brownley (D-CA) was proud to join the Rancho Simi Recreation & Park District in honoring America’s veterans. Below are Congresswoman Brownley’s remarks as prepared:
“Thank you, Josh [Gray], for your kind introduction, and thank you all for the opportunity to join you this morning – as our nation comes together to recognize the men and women who have served our nation in uniform.
“In Congress, I am so privileged to represent Ventura County and the Conejo Valley, which boasts a proud and rich military history.
“Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend the Veterans Day program at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library – and it was truly a wonderful event that commenced with a flyover, musical performances by very talented high school students from Simi, and it provided a great space for our community to recognize our veterans, their service, and their sacrifice.
“And today – on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour – in a tradition that is so special to Ventura County, we continue to honor our veterans.
“That is why it is no surprise that almost every city in our county is paying tribute to our veterans – and I am so pleased to join you here in Simi Valley on this Veterans Day.
“The ethos of Veterans Day is very much the ethos of Ventura County: honoring service. And I believe that it is because of this defining characteristic, that we are all gathered here today.
“To honor the over 40,000 veterans and their families that call our region home.
“To honor our World War II veterans and centenarians like Len Zerlin of Thousand Oaks, who recounts great details of the Greatest Generation.
“We gather to honor our Korean War veterans like Richard Ruiz of Santa Paula, who upon returning to the United States in 1953 made it his mission to pay homage to his fellow veterans and his efforts resulted in the 12 signs along the 126 denoting the Korean War Veterans Memorial Highway.
“We honor our Vietnam veterans like Sgt. Major John Canley of Oxnard, who received his Medal of Honor 50 years to the day of the start of the Tet Offensive, where his bravery and courage saved the many lives of his fellow Marines.
“We honor the veterans of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and all the post-9/11 veterans – and every man and woman that has answered the call to duty.
“In times of peace and great turmoil around the world, our nation has remained a beacon of hope and a shining example of democracy.
“It has been our service members – past and present – that have defended that democracy – and taken an oath to defend our Constitution, our inalienable rights, and our way of life. It is because of our service members – past and present – that our democracy is strong and we remain the greatest democracy in the world. It is for these reasons that we are forever grateful to our veterans. And it is for these reasons that as your representative in Congress, I have made it my priority to ensure that our nation fulfills its solemn promise to serve our veterans as well as they have served our country. This is the North Star that has guided my work.
“As the daughter, sister, and niece of veterans, I have seen firsthand the sacrifices of the men and women who serve our nation in uniform – as well as the often unseen and unrecognized sacrifices of their loved ones who uplift and support them throughout their service. I take this commitment very personally and will continue to work to ensure all veterans and their families receive the benefits, care, and support they have earned and deserve.
“President Reagan once said, ‘Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.’ He added, ‘It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for [our children] to do the same.’ I could not agree more. It is because of our veterans and their service that we are free.
“To our veterans, I say ‘thank you for your service’ – not only on this Veterans Day, but every single day.
“May God bless our veterans. May God bless our service members at home and around the world, and may God bless the United States of America.”