Gov. JB Pritzker: Our sacred obligations to our veterans

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As the son and grandson of Navy veterans, I have a very personal commitment to upholding our sacred obligations to our veterans. Those who served our nation in uniform are heroes who risked their lives so that we can live in a free and democratic society.

And for my first Memorial Day weekend as Governor and as commander-in-chief of the Illinois National Guard, it is my great privilege to pay my respects alongside the residents of the Quincy Veterans’ Home and alongside your loved ones. Thank you to each and every one of you who served and sacrificed for this nation and to your families who made that service possible.

There are over 700,000 veterans in our state. That’s 700,000 individuals who each made countless sacrifices, small and big, so that the people of this nation could thrive. That’s 700,000 people who deserve every opportunity to succeed and the best care this state can provide. When we support our veterans, we are building stronger families and communities all across our state.

A core responsibility of our government should be to serve those who served us. I take that responsibility very seriously.

That’s why one of my first acts as governor back in January was to sign an executive order directing a full review of the health, safety, and security of veterans’ homes across the state.

And that’s why two months ago my administration restarted the construction of a new Chicago Veterans’ Home.

And today, I’m proud to announce that my infrastructure investment proposal for our state will invest 230 million dollars here at the Quincy Veterans’ Home, allowing us to build a brand new, state of the art facility for our nation’s heroes.

You served us, so we serve you. It’s your right, and it’s our obligation. My Department of Veterans Affairs and the office of the Governor are focused on delivering on the promise of the safe and secure retirement you deserve.

So as I stand here before you — with Memorial Day on the horizon — I want to say to you on behalf of the grateful people of Illinois, that the service you and your families have given to us, defending this nation, will always be a source of inspiration and reverence.

And this weekend, as we honor the fallen heroes who so selflessly and courageously gave their lives, it’s fitting to recall the words of our nation’s greatest President, Abraham Lincoln, who after learning of the loss of her sons in battle, wrote these words to their mother:

“I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of Freedom.”

God bless the great state of Illinois, and God bless the United States of America.

Governor JB Pritzker began honoring Memorial Day by joining the family picnic at the Quincy Veterans’ Home on Friday. These are the governor’s remarks as prepared for delivery.

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May 24, 2019 at 01:55PM

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