Today is the day that we express our solemn gratitude to the men and women in our military service who have given their lives in duty to our nation. While we cannot ever repay them or their families for this sacrifice, in our hearts we know that they will be remembered by a grateful nation.
On this particular Memorial Day, I join many in remembering Robert Stelling, a man who was a fighter in the U.S. Air Force, an advocate for veterans and a leader in our party. Our hearts were broken with his passing two weeks ago at a VA hospital here in Phoenix.
Those who knew Bob know that his mission was to make sure that no American fighting for our country would ever make their sacrifice in vain or be forgotten. The founder and chair of the Democratic Veterans Caucus, Bob directed efforts in Arizona that we benefit from today. He took leadership on issues such as passing the DREAM Act, repealing Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell and the “Forgotten Veterans Program.” He sat with lawmakers and advocated for more VA facilities.
And it is in his honor that today there is an effort to rename a portion of the VA hospital after him.
I am grateful to have had Bob’s influence in my life. Our obligation to him and our nation’s fallen heroes is to make this country as great as Bob envisioned it, a place that is fair and safe for all who live here.