\”Don\’t Tread On Me\”… Happy Independence Day!

Barack Obama spoke today about the sacrifice veterans and troops serving overseas have given to assure the independence and freedom that marks the Fourth Of July. \”Don\’t Tread On Me\” was the motto in 1776 and it was a tough fight to gain independence from Great Britain , but 13 colonies and a small army of patriots sacrificed and succeeded in gaining independence. Since then over the centuries and decades millions of other patriots have filled the ranks and fought for freedoms cause…

Obama,\”Tomorrow, we’ll mark the 4th of July with barbecues and parades; fireworks and time off with loved ones. We’ll also have the opportunity to give thanks for our troops and veterans. Their sacrifice has made possible the freedom that we enjoy. And keeping faith with those who serve must always be a core American value and a cornerstone of American patriotism. Because America’s commitment to its servicemen and women begins at enlistment, and it must never end\”.

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., center, speaks during his campaign stop in Fargo, N.D., July 3, 2008. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Obama, \”Allegiance to these ideals has always been at the core of American patriotism – it’s what unites a country of so many different opinions and beliefs. At the same time, we must never forget that honoring these ideals must mean honoring the men and women who defend them in the uniform of the United States. This requires more than saluting our veterans as they march by in a 4th of July parade. It requires only sending them to war when we must, and giving them the equipment they need to complete their mission safely. It requires giving them the care and benefits they have earned. And it requires standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our veterans and their families after the guns fall silent and the cameras are turned off\”.

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Obama,\” Abraham Lincoln once said, “I like to see a man proud of the place in which he lives. But I also like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him\”.

Here are some of Barack\’s plans and stances on Veterans issues:

Treating our Veterans with Respect

  • Barack Obama introduced the Dignity for Wounded Warriors Act. The bill improves the condition of troop housing at hospitals like Walter Reed, streamlines the process for wounded troops deciding whether or not they can stay in the military, provides greater information to recovering servicemembers, requires the hiring of more caseworkers, and provides more support to family members who care for injured troops.

Sheltering and Rehabilitating Homeless Veterans

  • One in three homeless males in this country is a veteran. That’s unacceptable. Barack Obama authored legislation to extend and expand critical homeless veteran rehabilitation programs and make affordable housing available. As president, he will establish a Zero Tolerance policy for veterans falling into homelessness.

Fighting for Disability Benefits

  • In Illinois, Obama led efforts to empower veterans who received inadequate disability benefits. He forced the VA to notify veterans in Illinois and other states about their right to review past claims. The resulting outreach led to significant numbers of veterans getting the benefits they deserve. As president, he will rebuild the Veterans Benefits Administration by switching to electronic records, hiring more caseworkers, and providing them more training and accountability.

Treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)

  • Barack Obama helped stop a VA effort to force some veterans to prove again that they suffered from PTSD to maintain their benefits. He also passed an amendment ensuring that all servicemembers would be properly screened for TBI. In 2007, Obama helped introduce a bill to personalize and improve overall care for TBI patients.
  • We have to understand that for far too many troops and their families, the war doesn’t end when they come home. Just the other day our own government’s top psychiatric researcher said that because of inadequate mental health care, the number of suicides among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan may actually exceed the number of combat deaths.
  • In the Senate, Obama helped lead a bipartisan effort to stop the unfair practice of kicking out troops who suffer from them. And when he is President, he will enhance mental health screening and treatment at all levels: from enlistment, to deployment, to reentry into civilian life.

Easing the Transition of Veterans into Civilian Life

  • Barack Obama introduced legislation that would help troops transition to civilian life after they leave the military. His legislation would provide new veterans with electronic medical and service records, monitor health trends and improve transportation services.

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Barack Obama will be in Montana tomorrow celebrating the 4th with a picnic

Independence Day Picnic with the Obama Family
in Butte, MT
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Carry On… Cannon fire on the Fourth

By the rude bridge that arched the flood
Their flag to April\’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.

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