Veterans are our heroes

by Tom Cole

In 1954, following the conclusion of World War II, Congress passed and President Dwight Eisenhower signed Proclamation 3071, calling upon all citizens of the U.S. to observe November 11 of every year as Veterans Day, “in order to ensure proper and widespread of observance of this anniversary, all Veterans’ organizations and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.”

To this day, the tradition of honoring those who selflessly sacrificed much of their civilian and personal lives to defend the freedoms we all enjoy today, continues.

Since the founding of our nation, countless brave men and women have answered the call to serve in our armed forces. As we recognize the selfless service of our veterans rendered during times of war and peace, we also solemnly remember those who we lost in the line of duty.

Additionally, we thank the generations of family members and loved ones who have made significant sacrifices while supporting our men and women in uniform. As the son of a career airman and military wife, I know firsthand the sacrifice family members also make.

Oklahoma is proud to be the home to a vast number of veterans. At 291,315 total, I am proud to represent 73,537 veterans in the Fourth Congressional District, which is nearly 20,000 more than each of the other four congressional districts.

With nearly 28,331 Fourth District veterans over the age of 65 and 45,206 under the age of 65, we are a proud home to many who served at different points of American history including World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf Wars. However, with a majority of these veterans younger than 65 years of age, this shows the continued need for adequate healthcare and support services in our state.

I consider it an honor to serve the Fourth District of Oklahoma, which houses Fort Sill and Tinker Airforce Base.

In addition, Oklahoma is home to a total of six military installations statewide, two VA inpatient care sites, 16 VA outpatient care sites, three veterans’ centers, one veterans’ benefits administration regional office and four national and state veterans’ cemeteries.

Additionally, three new sites of care for our veterans are coming soon including a women’s clinic and clinics in Norman and Woodward. With such a presence in our state, it is clear Oklahomans are proud of the Americans who served our nation and take pride in taking care of them.

This past weekend, Americans across the nation came together to celebrate our heroic veterans, honor their tremendous sacrifices and remember to not take the freedoms and liberties of the United States for granted.

Our veterans are nothing short of heroes and we are grateful for their devotion to the United States and its status as a beacon of freedom and hope for the world.

If you are a veteran and have experienced problems or have questions related to your earned benefits, please contact my Norman office at 405-329-6500, so my staff can help you get answers. Also, if you are a veteran experiencing a crisis, please call the Veterans Crisis Line at 988 and press 1, or text the number 838255 to receive confidential support. You can also chat with someone online at