DES MOINES, Iowa - On Veterans Day in Des Moines, simply thanking those who have served the country wasn't enough for some.
"The big change, at least that started maybe a year ago, and it's going now, is that we are very big at thanking our veterans, and appreciating - with various ceremonies like we are doing today," said Daniel Gannon, chairman of the Iowa Commission on Veterans Affairs. "But I think we're taking the next step in many, many ways. And that's helping our veterans - those that have serious health issues, those who have serious financial issues that need our help within the community."
Gannon spoke to a crowded room at the Iowa Events Center Friday morning during a ceremony honoring the community's veterans. He told those in attendance that remembering past wars and those who served and sacrificed in them is of the utmost importance, but that society needs to do more than just remember. Getting resources - both medical and financial - to veterans needs to be a priority across the nation, he says, and that he hopes solving veterans' issues will be a unifying factor after a heated and divisive election year.
"Whether it's healthcare, whether it's financial issues. We need support from everyone in Congress to do that," he said. "We've heard a lot of negative things about the VA healthcare system - the VA healthcare system, I think, is one of the best systems for its size in the country. Of course, if any veteran isn't treated exactly right, that's not right either. But we are working very hard, trying to improve that healthcare system, and we have come a long way, in just the last year - especially here in Iowa."