On Memorial Day, we remember the more than 640,000 men and women who have given their lives serving the United States since the first such commemoration in 1868. As Americans, we've always paid our respects to those who have died in defense of our great nation. However, the cost of war isn't just measured in those we've lost. The cost of war is also seen in the aftermath. Our devotion as Americans ought to also be measured by the tangible ways we continue to care for our veterans long after their service.

I've been meeting with veterans across the 18th House of Delegates District (which includes parts of Fauquier, Warren, Culpeper and Rappahannock counties) and it's clear that there is a need for a Veterans Service Office in each county. Today, our veterans are forced to navigate a complicated federal and state system for medical claims; too often without the aid of a Veterans Service Office.

There is no VSO anywhere in the 18th District and that must change. A common refrain I hear from veterans is that they learn more about the benefits they could receive in the waiting room, than they do by interacting with the office Richmond has tasked with caring for them.

Virginia has a proud history of supporting our veterans. It's time we bring that support closer to home and ensure our veterans get care and service without undue bureaucratic delay. It's time the counties of the 18th district had their own dedicated VSOs.

Laura Galante, candidate, 18th House of Delegates District

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