In a previous post, I expressed my pleasure at the nomination of General Eric Shinseki to be our next V.A. Secretary.
I just read at ThinkProgress the full transcripts of Obama’s announcement of his selection and of Shinseki’s acceptance. You can also view the YouTube video.
I will just post Obama’s concluding remarks and the General’s gracious and sincere words of acceptance.
OBAMA: And with the national security team I announced this week and the extraordinary and courageous Secretary of Veterans Affairs I am announcing today, I am confident that we will never hesitate to defend our security, that we will send our troops into battle only when we must, and that, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, we will truly care for all “who shall have borne the battle.”
Now, I’d like to turn it over to our next VA Secretary, General Eric Shinseki.
SHINSEKI: Well, Mr. President-elect, thank you for the honor of being nominated to serve our nation and your cabinet. I can think of no higher responsibility than ensuring that men and women who have served our nation in uniform are treated with the care and respect that they have earned.
As you’ve said, these brave Americans are part of an unbroken line of heroes that stretches back to the American Revolution.
And yet, even as we stand here today, there are veterans who have worried about keeping their health care or even their homes, paying their bills or finding a good job when they leave the service.
Veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan in particular are confronting serious severe wounds — some seen, some unseen — making it difficult for them to get on with their lives in this struggling economy. They deserve a smooth, error-free, no-fail, benefits-assured transition into our ranks as veterans. And that is our responsibility, not theirs.
A word to my fellow veterans: If confirmed, I will work each and every day to ensure that we are serving you as well as you have served us. We will pursue a 21st-century V.A. that serves your needs.
We will open doors, new doors of opportunity so you can find a good job, support your families when you return to civilian life. And if we will always — we will always honor the sacrifices of those who have worn the uniform and their loved ones.
So, Mr. President-elect, thank you for entrusting me with this great responsibility.
And I thank all of our veterans who have served in the Armed Forces of our nation.
Thank you, General, with your help perhaps “Support our Troops” will once again become more than just a political slogan.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.