This Veterans’ Day, I want to join the President in saying “Thank You” to the brave men and women from across the country who have answered the call to serve their country. I also want to thank those veterans who have returned home and have chosen to continue serving. From City Halls to Indian Country to State Capitols throughout this country, some of America’s veterans are continuing their public service as elected officials.
There are far too many to mention them all, but here are just a few examples:
- A Vietnam Era veteran, Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa, joined the Army after graduating from college. Sergeant Branstad was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his service and then returned to Iowa where his life in public service would continue.
- Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe served in the U.S. Army Reserve, before beginning his career as a lawyer and longtime state legislator and state Attorney General.
- Mayor Setti Warren of Newton, MA enlisted in the US Naval Reserve in 2003. He went on to serve as an intelligence officer in Iraq and is now the Mayor of the city in which he was raised.
- Mayor Sly James of Kansas City, MO served in the Armed Forces before returning home and becoming Mayor of the town he grew up in. His service began in 1971 when he joined the Marines.
- Before becoming President of the National Congress of American Indians and Lt. Governor of the Chickasaw Nation of Oklahoma, Jefferson Keel served over 20 years as a U.S. Army officer and former Airborne Ranger. For his service, he received two Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, and the Army Commendation Medal for his service in Vietnam.
- Timothy Williams, Chairman of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, was a Sergeant in the Marines where he led soldiers in Iraq.
- In Arizona, State Representative Ruben Gallego was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps and served in Iraq before returning home to once again answer the call to service by running for elected office.
Today, we thank all the honorable men and women who have answered the call to service at home and abroad.
David Agnew is Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs.