As representative of Fort Bragg and the fastest-growing veteran population in the country, I am continually humbled by the veterans I meet and the stories I hear from these American heroes. Our veterans represent the best of our nation, and I am proud to be their voice in Congress. This Veterans Day, as we remember those who have served our great country, I challenge you to personally thank a veteran for his or her service.
Just recently, I attended the Medal of Honor ceremony for Master Sgt. Matthew Williams, an 8th District constituent and Green Beret. I shared his story with you before, but I want to share what was perhaps the most poignant moment for me that day in the East Room at the White House.
Williams was praised by President Donald Trump, who told the story of his bravery and courageous actions. Williams received standing ovations from proud Americans — including the Secretary of Defense, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the Secretary of the Army — after having the Medal of Honor placed around his neck by the president.
This must have been an overwhelming moment for Williams. Yet, while the top military and political leaders in our nation focused their attention on Williams, he gave us a glimpse of his real character. It all happened so quickly I wonder if anyone else noticed.
President Trump called Williams’ family on stage to take a photograph. America was watching, but in that moment, Williams’ focus was on his father. This warrior, in the midst of being honored for his lethality and calm in battle, stepped off the stage — literally— to lovingly help his father, who was having trouble climbing the stairs onto the stage.
It was a moment that stuck with me. It speaks not only to Williams’ character, but to the character of all Green Berets. They truly are some of our greatest warriors, but these “quiet professionals” are also humble servants.
As we all know well, the Green Beret is “a symbol of excellence, a badge of courage, a mark of distinction in the fight for freedom.” The U.S. Army Special Forces are some of the most capable and effective soldiers in the world. These elite fighters are America’s first line of defense, but they are also selfless and compassionate. Williams is just one example of our Green Berets and other service members who show their love for their family, for their community and for their country every day.
Furthering my commitment to be a voice for veterans, I have partnered with the Library of Congress through their Veterans History Project. Veterans who wish to contribute will participate in a taped interview about their service.
I’ll be hosting several events in December to interview veterans. My constituent services team also will be available for all veterans to receive assistance with federal issues. Details on December’s sessions are as follows: Tuesday, Dec. 17, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Cabarrus County Governmental Center in Concord; and Wednesday, Dec. 18, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Sandhills Community in Pinehurst.
If you are interested in sharing your story or you know a veteran who would like to, visit my website at Hudson.House.gov or call my office at 704-786-1612.
To the members of the United States Armed Forces, past and present, thank you for your service.