A Day to Honor Veterans
On Nov. 11, America salutes its veterans. Observed on the anniversary of the end to World War I, Veterans Day honors everyone who ever served honorably in America’s Armed Forces. No matter where, when or how they served, all veterans are heroes on this day. I encourage everyone to seek out veterans in your family and community and thank them for their service.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Missouri is home to about 440,000 veterans, including more than 18,000 living in the five counties I serve in the Missouri Senate. Statewide, just under 10% of adult Missourians served in the Armed Forces. The figure is higher in each of the five counties of the 16th Senatorial District, with Pulaski County leading the way with approximately 1 in 4 of its residents having worn a military uniform.
It’s not surprising Pulaski County boasts such a strong concentration of veterans. Home to the U.S. Army’s Fort Leonard Wood, few other areas of Missouri are so centered on military service. Each year, approximately 80,000 civilians and military personnel pass through Fort Leonard Wood, the home of the U.S. Army’s Maneuver Support Center of Excellence.
According to a report recently prepared for the office of the Missouri Military Advocate, Fort Leonard Wood accounts for more than $2 billion in the state’s overall economy. The largest military facility in Missouri, the base created jobs for 8,200 military personnel and 3,900 civilians during 2018. Although the fort is generally closed to visitors this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the facility traditionally hosts about 150,000 guests annually. During a normal year, friends and family members of military personnel contribute about $22 million to the local economy.
Veterans Day provides an opportunity for all of us to show our appreciation for the men and women who served our nation. As we honor our veterans on Nov. 11, I hope we all take a moment to reflect on the importance of the military in our state. Our nation is stronger because of our unrivaled military, but I believe our state is also stronger thanks to our veterans. God bless our troops, and all those who have ever served our great nation with honor.
It’s my honor to serve as your senator for the 16th District. If you have questions or need any assistance, please call my office at 573-751-5713 or log onto my webpage at https://www.senate.mo.gov/brown for more information.