Today we salute our veterans. As a Vietnam Veteran for the U.S. Marine Corps, I understand the difficult sacrifices that our veterans and their military families endure on a daily basis.

Our veterans – the brave men and women who have worn the American military uniform – are our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, neighbors, and friends. They courageously answered the call to serve our country, and many died fighting for our freedom.

Both on and off of the battlefield our veterans have protected our liberty and way of life. Their commitment to our great nation has taken our veterans across the globe to places including Europe, the Pacific, Southeast Asia and, most recently, the Middle East. 

The men and women of our armed forces serve all Americans – Democrats and Republicans, conservatives and liberals. The American soldier is not partisan, but a patriot. The focus and spirit required of the infantrymen, sailors, marines, and airmen of this country leaves no room for partisan differences to interfere with the mission at hand. These soldiers join together to advance a single purpose, which is something we can all learn from and strive to accomplish in our daily lives.

During their service, our veterans stood together ready to fight and die for our country and for their fellow countrymen. Despite different races, religions, backgrounds, cultures, and states of residence, veterans are all the same. The diversity of our military represents what makes our country a great nation.

Today we salute all of our veterans for the sacrifices they have made for us whether it was at home or abroad. Today we honor you, the American soldier, and we recognize your commitment and your selfless service. We are grateful to you for defending our country, our freedoms, and our families. As your state senator, I am committed to continuing to fight for policies and funding to get our veterans the care, the benefits, and the opportunities that they have earned. This is a commitment that goes beyond just one day, and one for which I will always fight. Semper Fi!

Editor’s Note: The above guest column was penned by state Sen. Juan Hinojosa of McAllen, Texas. It appears in The Rio Grande Guardian with the author’s permission. Hinojosa is a veteran of the Viet Nam War. He can be reached via email at: [email protected]

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above guest column shows the Texas Capitol Vietnam Veterans Memorial Monument in Austin, Texas.