Last Sunday, one of our Aerospace Industries Association staff members attended church services at the Jubilee Christian Center in Fairfax, Virginia. During his sermon, the congregation’s pastor asked all active duty military service members and service veterans to stand up and be recognized in advance of Veterans Day. He then appropriately asked their family members to stand up as well; as everyone from First Lady Michelle Obama on down understands, our military families are the foundation upon which the modern volunteer armed services succeeds. As relayed to me by my colleague, it was a heartwarming and unifying moment — something our communities and nation needs badly after a rancorous and divisive political campaign.

But the Pastor was not done. In a well-received gesture, he also acknowledged the worshipers who also serve as civilians at the Department of Defense, and those who work in the aerospace and defense industry, and applauded them for their noble work on behalf of our nation. This is in keeping with the reality that the irreplaceable institution that is our modern all volunteer force is underpinned by the strong support structure of our civilian defense workforce and the aerospace and defense industry.

As we go about celebrating Veterans Day, we would do well to emulate the pastor’s appreciation for our men and women in uniform, their families, and all those who support them. Our country is free and secure and the world is a much safer place because of them.

Residents of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia have special reasons to recognize how important our service members, veterans and the people who support our military are to the region. Because many of our nation’s most critical military facilities are located here, those who leave the service often take on new jobs or retire nearby, contributing their leadership, project management and technological skills to the DMV’s economy. Many of our veterans and their family members are significant contributors in our innovative industry, which equips and supports our warfighters, advanced progress in space exploration and research and helps make our air transportation system safer and more efficient. And many serve their country while working in our industry, through their membership in the National Guard and Reserve. In all, the aerospace and defense industry is a major source of jobs in the region, employing nearly 55,000.

I had the privilege of serving 32 years in the Army, and I know from that experience how much our troops in the field rely on the aerospace and defense industry to keep them well equipped, and as safe as possible in the field. It truly is a partnership that works.

Nearly 100 years ago, on November 11, 1919, the first Veterans Day was celebrated. Earlier that same year, the predecessor to the Aerospace Industries Association, the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce, was formed. As our industry has had a long and productive engagement with our service men and women and our veterans, I believe this linkage in time is most fitting. On this and other days throughout the year, please go out of your way to thank a veteran for their service. Please thank their family members for all they do. And by all means, thank those in the military’s civilian workforce and those who work in the aerospace and defense industry — the people who work to keep our country strong, bolster our capacity to innovate and spur our economic growth. Our country is truly better because of all of them.

David F. Melcher (Lt. Gen. US Army Ret.) is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aerospace Industries Association, based in Rosslyn, Virginia. Thinking of submitting an op-ed to the Washington Examiner? Be sure to read our guidelines on submissions.

Five things Trump could do to change Obamacare right away

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There’s a laundry list of things President-elect Donald Trump could do on his own to modify the Affordable Care Act, even if Congress gets hung up on exactly how to repeal and replace it.

While the Affordable Care Act is a lengthy piece of legislation, the Obama administration issued many more pages of regulations and guidance explaining exactly how it should be implemented. The new administration, under the direction of Trump, could amend or get rid of those directives as soon as it’s in place next year, and thus significantly alter the law without having to wait for Congress.

Additionally, the Department of Justice is involved in several ongoing disputes involving the healthcare law and some of the payments it lays out for

11/11/16 12:01 AM

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