South Carolina’s veterans are getting the care they so richly deserve

No matter where you may be across the world, Nov. 11 is set in place to honor and salute the millions of American veterans who throughout history have placed their lives on the line for liberty.

Although Veterans Day was conceived after World War I, we honor all American veterans who have served in every war to defend democracy.

We honor our veterans from every era because they protected and still protect our democracy.. And these brave men and women of our military have not only fought and won wars — they have also provided emergency relief and humanitarian aid throughout the world.

Thanks to the unwavering support from this great community, I’m proud to say that your Columbia VA Health Care System is now comprised of more than 2,850 employees serving 36 of South Carolina’s 46 counties.

In order to reaffirm our commitment to our veterans we have successfully obtained more than $160 million in funding for 11 new capital projects that will transform how health care is provided for veterans across our great state.

We have also partnered with more than 90 phenomenal leaders in our community — including the Department of Defense, the Governor’s Office and many other community organizations — to strengthen our focus on:

Ending homelessness and suicide among veterans.

Maximizing access to care.

Maintaining high-quality standards

Some of us may be too young to remember a family member or a friend who never returned from the battles of war, but that makes no difference. Whatever our age or our memory of war, we have good reason to honor our veterans because remembering them helps us reaffirm the answers to some important questions:

Who are these veterans we honor?

What do they look like?

Where do they come from?

In truth our veterans of the Columbia VA Health Care System are the very embodiment of America itself.

They represent all races and ethnic groups.

They are the composite of our nation and all that has made it great.

They are men.

They are women.

They are of every creed and belief.

They fit every physical description.

They are your neighbor next door, the merchant at the mall, the police officer on the corner and the leader within our community.

They are among the millions of Americans living today who have proudly worn our country’s military uniform.

We owe each and every one of them our gratitude and respect.

David Omura is the CEO of the Columbia VA Health Care System in Columbia.