American Legion to present Patriot Award to Sanders

BURLINGTON -- The American Legion will present its prestigious Patriot Award to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday when the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee chairman speaks at the Legion's national convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. President Barack Obama will address the convention today.

Sanders is being recognized for his role crafting legislation to improve access to timely, quality health care for veterans and to reform the Department of Veterans Affairs. Obama signed the bill on Aug. 7.

In his remarks at the Legion convention, Sanders will say that the legislation is a significant step forward but much more needs to be done to address the needs of the veterans community. He will call for eliminating long delays for processing disability claims along with improved dental care and mental health services. He also will call for expansion of a caregivers program to help family members providing round-the-clock care for disabled veterans.

National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger said the award is being presented for Sanders' "unwavering dedication to our nation and its veterans."

The plaque that will be presented to Sanders says: "When systemic problems plaguing the Veterans Health Administration were brought to your attention, you immediately ordered hearings and introduced legislation to improve the lives of patients and those trying to access care. While supportive of the temporary use of vouchers for veterans who live in remote areas or have waited too long to receive a VA medical appointment, you are a true champion of the need for a strong Veterans Affairs Health Care system and have been a powerful critic of attempts to privatize the Department of Veterans Affairs and its essential services. Your commitment to bringing accountability, transparency and accessibility to VA is highly commendable. On behalf of the 2.4 million members of The American Legion, thank you for your strong support of America's veterans."

Sanders remarks on Wednesday will be livestreamed on the American Legion website at


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