Rep. Joe Wilson: Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

May 23, 2019
Op-eds

It is an honor and a privilege to represent the servicemembers and veterans of South Carolina’s Second Congressional District this Memorial Day. The Midlands are known as the “The Most Military Friendly Community in America” which is something our communities take pride in owning. We have 417,515 Veterans in South Carolina with many living in the Midlands. While it appears that lately there is a lack of uplifting or positive news, my team hopes you find some encouragement in this message.

I am grateful to share that legislation I introduced in January is moving through Congress. This legislation eliminates the so-called “Widow’s Tax” which impacts over 65,000 families who have lost a servicemember or veteran. The Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act repeals an unfair deduction of benefits placed on the surviving spouses of service members when their spouse passes away during active duty. It also applies to surviving spouses of retirees who pass away because of a service-connected cause. Republicans and Democrats from all over the country and in both the House and Senate came together to stand up for this important legislation. As of today, I am proud to announce that H.R. 553 has over 310 co-sponsors. My team and I are continuously working to move this bill through the House of Representatives.

Our nation’s military personnel risk their lives to defend our nation and our freedoms—they should be able to trust that the benefits they designate for their spouses and families will provide for them. I am thankful for the support from both sides of the aisle and encouraged by the strong showing of bipartisanship to protect military spouses. I’ve also co-sponsored the Homeless Veteran Families Act, the Sergeant First Class Brian Woods Gold Star and Military Survivors Act, and the VA Hiring Enhancement Act.

Military service has always been a tradition in the Wilson Family, so I have a firsthand understanding of how important it is to protect our heroes and their family members. My father served in the Flying Tigers during World War II. 1st Lieutenant Hugh Wilson was a member of the 14th Air Force serving in Kunming, China. A love of military service was instilled in me through his leadership as I was growing up, which is what inspired me to become a member of the United States Army Reserve. This same passion to protect our great country was passed to our four sons who have served in the military in Iraq, Egypt, and Afghanistan.

Ahead of Memorial Day, it is important to recognize that our military and their families represent the finest this nation has to offer. Our community is reminded of the brave members of the Armed Forces, and grateful Americans, remember and show appreciation for those who lost their lives defending our country. Freedom is not free.