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Governor promises improved veteran care

November 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger thanked veterans for their service on Wednesday and talked about better care for those coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.Gov. Schwarzenegger joined veterans groups at the Los Angeles National Cemetery to honor those who made the greatest sacrifice for freedom.

"Today, we want to take this special day to say thank you, thank you, thank you," said the governor.

Approximately 85,000 veterans and family members are buried in the cemetery next to the 405 Freeway. Veterans who fought in long ago battles of the Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm are buried next to the most recent fallen from Iraq and Afghanistan.

"Proudly we honor all people of the armed forces from all wars. Their courage was our greatest triumph, their sacrifice our greatest loss," said the cemetery director Cynthia Nunez.

While Schwarzenegger spoke, Roger Hall held high an American flag. Hall lives in West L.A. and says he never served himself but wanted to honor those who do.

"What was written two centuries ago is still revolutionary, so I'm very proud that I'm an American and that my country stands for those ideals. It's that simple," said Hall.

"I think we need to recognize what they are doing and that we do need to fight for our freedom and we shouldn't take our country for granted," said Ann Piehl, another ceremony attendee.

As part of California's effort to assist returning veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, Schwarzenegger announced an extra $5 million for job training and other services. He also said the state is doing all it can to overcome homelessness among returning vets

"We've made the largest investment in veterans' homes in California's history, totaling $321 million in federal and state funds," said the governor. "And we have nearly completed homes in Lancaster and Ventura, and we will also open a home right here in West Los Angeles next year in 2010."

The governor also announced that he will be flying to Iraq next week to visit troops.


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