Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) and Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) have teamed up to form the U.S. Senate HEROES (Honoring, Embracing, and Recognizing Our Exceptional Service members) Caucus.
The mission of the caucus is to support “Capitol Tours for America’s Heroes,” a program Senator Conrad developed earlier this year with the Department of Defense and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that offers rehabilitating service members guided tours of the United States Capitol.
“These brave men and women have answered the call of duty and made tremendous sacrifices for our nation. As they come home from war, we must do all we can to ensure they receive the support they need and deserve. That includes offering activities for service members and their families as they heal from the wounds of war,” Senator Conrad said. “I am confident that Senator Isakson and I will be able to recruit many of our colleagues for the HEROES Caucus.”
“The HEROES Caucus will further support and honor the brave men and women in our nation’s armed forces,” said Senator Isakson. “As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I am especially proud to join this caucus that supports the ‘Capitol Tours for America’s Heroes’ program. It is a small token of our country’s appreciation for the many sacrifices of our wounded heroes and their families.”
Doctors note that recuperating soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines often must deal with the limited availability of recreational activities. “Capitol Tours for America’s Heroes” offers recovering service members a brief diversion from their rehabilitation and a chance to venture outside hospital grounds.
Upon arrival at the U.S. Capitol Building, service members are greeted and escorted to the Capitol Visitor Center. There they hear about how Congress works and how the Capitol building was built. They are given a private tour of the U.S. Capitol, including Statuary Hall, the Rotunda, and the Senate Chamber.
Senator Conrad has held two “Capitol Tours for America’s Heroes” events so far, and they have been very well received by the service members and their families. Several U.S. Marines participated in an event last month and noted how much they appreciated being out of the hospital for the day and getting an up close look at the Capitol.
The Senators plan to offer “Capitol Tours for America’s Heroes” on a bi-weekly basis.