Celebrating Service in the Nation's Capital

Posted November 29, 2012

By Ian Crawford, AmeriCorps VISTA-Got Your 6

When the new Congress convenes in Washington, 12 veterans will take seats in the U.S. House for the first time. Of those 12, eight served in Iraq or Afghanistan. Two of them are the first women combat veterans elected to Congress. After serving their country in uniform, they’ve chosen to serve again, this time on the political battlefield of Capitol Hill.

On November 28, the Got Your 6 collective impact initiative and a committee of 75 current members of Congress played host to those 12 “freshmen” veterans. The “Celebration of Service” was highlighted with remarks by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representatives-elect Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, as well as Chris Godsick, executive producer of HBO’s “Veep.” Three other incoming lawmakers, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, and Chris Stewart of Utah, also attended the celebration in the home of the Reed family, just down the street from the Capitol. They were joined by Congressman Mike Michaud of Maine, whom Leader Pelosi noted is in line to be the next ranking minority member on the House Veterans Affairs committee. Representatives from the majority of Got Your 6’s partner organizations also attended.

In her remarks, Leader Pelosi lauded the commitment of Got Your 6 and its partners from the nonprofit, entertainment, and government sectors, and added her support to the effort. Both Ms. Gabbard and Mr. Cotton remarked on the massive outpouring of support in the room for Got Your 6’s efforts to bridge the civilian-military divide.

In addition to those in attendance, the veterans newly elected to the House are Kerry Bentivolio of Michigan, Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma, Doug Collins of Georgia, Paul Cook of California, William Enyart of Illinois, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio.

About 150 people attended the festivities on a chilly evening in Washington, a strong testament to the attention Got Your 6 is drawing in the Nation’s Capital to our collective efforts to serve those who have served and to highlight the issues confronting the men and women who are returning to civilian life.