WASHINGTON  - U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, released the following statement in recognition of Military Appreciation Month:

“During the month of May, I join my fellow North Carolinians in recognizing Military Appreciation Month. North Carolina is the most military-friendly state in the nation, and I’m proud that we treat every month as military appreciation month. As a U.S. senator, it is my job to seek ways that we can improve the lives of service members, military spouses and veterans every day. 
 
“We must always keep the promises we make to our service members. As they further their education and prepare to transition to civilian life, we must ensure they can count on tuition assistance. As veterans attempt to access their hard-earned benefits in the face of unacceptable delays at the Department of Veterans Affairs, we must act to end the claims backlog, once and for all. As they seek health care, we must make every effort to provide quality care through centers like the new Wilmington VA Health Center. And as we take steps to reduce our deficits, I refuse to balance the budget on the backs of our men and women in uniform.
 
“Our military family members sacrifice so much while their loved ones serve. I’ve seen the heartbreak of family members whose son or daughter, mother or father, brother or sister, has made the ultimate sacrifice while defending our country. North Carolina’s military families need our support not only this month, but also every month.
 
“In honor of Military Appreciation Month, I express my deep appreciation to our service members for their work to defend our country from harm and protect the values we cherish. And I encourage all North Carolinians to take a moment this month to share a simple thank you with a service member they know.”