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Serving Veterans, Supporting Soldiers

April marks Month of the Military Child, an annual celebration where communities across the country lift up the sons and daughters of our military heroes. During this time, we remember that the men and women in uniform are not the only ones who sacrifice for our country – their families sacrifice time together. Sometimes they even sacrifice the life of their loved ones.  
 
Throughout the month, there will be several events and special recognition days where you can participate in bringing joy to our military families. If you’re not sure where to begin, here are a couple of places to get you started: 
 
 
This month comes at an important time as veterans and military families in South Dakota face an uncertain future with veterans’ health services. In mid-March, the Biden Administration announced it was looking to close or cut several key veterans’ health care facilities around the state.  
 
South Dakota is the number one state for veterans to live and work. We’re also ranked in the Top 5 states for veterans to retire. Why is that? Because we honor our veterans for their service and sacrifice. We honor them not just with our words; we back it up with action.  
 
My administration started the Fallen Heroes Bridge Dedication program to honor South Dakotans who lost their lives in the line of duty. And we built the first-ever State Veterans Cemetery to give a final resting place to those who served our nation in uniform. We respect the occupational license of active-duty military and their spouses so they can go right to work when they move to South Dakota. We’ve improved readiness facilities and capabilities for our nationally top-ranked National Guard units. We help veterans to receive free technical education classes, and active-duty soldiers and their families get in-state tuition at all our campuses. 
 
South Dakota also ranks Top 5 for health care for veterans, but that ranking will be tough to hold onto if the Biden Administration follows through on its proposal to downsize and close veterans’ health facilities across our state. In South Dakota, we will continue to back up our support for veterans with action. I will do everything in my power to fight the Biden Administration on this proposal.  
 
On March 29th, our nation honored National Vietnam Veterans Day to pay tribute to the brave soldiers who came home from that difficult conflict. More than 27,000 South Dakotans served during the War in Vietnam. Some of them didn’t receive a friendly welcome home. In fact, National Vietnam Veterans Day wasn’t recognized until 2017 under then-President Donald J. Trump. 
 
That is a powerful reminder that we can always do more to honor those who served on our behalf. We can give them more time; we can give them more thanks; we can give them more energy. Many of our veterans come home scarred in body and mind. Let’s show them that their sacrifice was worth it through our actions. After all, actions speak louder than words.  
 
I hope you will each take the time to thank our active-duty service members, their families, and our veterans. Find ways to give back or volunteer with organizations that support veterans and military families.  
 
This month let’s all take some extra time to assess how we can give back. Let’s celebrate Month of the Military Child, but then let’s take it a step further and find ways to give back to our veterans. By volunteering to support those who sacrifice everything for our freedom, we can build an even stronger America. 
 
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