By Kristi Noem, Guest Commentary
November 11, 2022
(Views expressed by guest commentators may not reflect the views of OAN or its affiliates.)
I am proud to be Governor of the best state in America to live, work, and retire as a veteran. That’s important – the state that sets the gold standard for Freedom should also lead the way in honoring those who defend our Freedoms. In the last four years, we found new ways to honor our veterans. In my second term, we will continue to build on those successes and honor the men and women who served us.
Remember, every veteran is a man or a woman who stood up, raised their right hand, and swore an oath to defend our homeland, our people, and our Constitutional Freedoms. They risk life and limb in that service, and their family loses valuable time with the ones they love. In return, we make a promise to support them when they finally leave military service. South Dakota lives up to that promise.
In South Dakota, we don’t just talk the talk. We don’t just say that we support our veterans. We take a top to bottom approach in state government to back those words up with action. Across our many departments and state agencies, we advocate for veterans. We help them start businesses, purchase the home of their dreams, go to college, or get help through our crisis hotline.
Our Department of Veteran’s Affairs provides those services directly to our veterans and helps connect them with the folks who can get them the help they need. The Department also operates our State Veteran’s Home in Hot Springs, which helps care for our heroes when the time comes for them to need long-term care.
These are not one-time actions. These are daily routines in which we find ways to promote our veterans.
Truth be told, South Dakota has a lot to celebrate when it comes to our men and women in uniform. We also have both the best Army National Guard and Air National Guard units in America. And that’s not just their biased Commander in Chief saying that – national honors and recognition have been bestowed on South Dakota guardsmen time and time again. They serve with excellence, no matter what mission we send them on.
A friend of mine recently came to visit South Dakota for a pheasant hunting trip and to help salute our veterans – Marine Staff Sergeant Johnny “Joey” Jones. Sergeant Jones was a bomb technician who lost his legs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan, and since then he has committed his life to advocating for veterans. His organization, Boot Campaign, works directly with veterans to treat the invisible wounds of war, like posttraumatic stress. And he travels the country raising awareness for the issues that veterans face in their daily lives.
It should not take losing our legs in war to motivate us to fight for our veterans. They answered the call to serve and gave everything for us – we must give what we can in return. We would not be able to enjoy the Freedoms we hold so dear but for their courage. We would not have this nation that we love but for their sacrifice.
This Veteran’s Day, thank a veteran. But do more than that – think of what you can do to give back and to make a meaningful difference in a veteran’s life. They deserve no less.