·  Vet Voice Foundation, Vet Voice Foundation

WASHINGTON, DC – Vet Voice Foundation strongly opposes the recent announcement from the White House to scale back national monuments.

Veterans played important roles in the community driven campaigns to help protect these national monuments, including thousands of veterans and family members that acted to submit public comments during the recent Department of Interior review period.

During a two-hour hike with Secretary Zinke in the Organ Mountain Desert Peaks, a dozen veterans attempted to persuade the former Navy Seal Now Secretary of Interior to leave the monuments be. Unfortunately, the recent news from President Trump signals the voice of the men and women who fought for the lands-of-the-free fell on deaf ears.

Garett Reppenhagen, an Iraq War Veteran and Western States Director for Vet Voice said, in a statement:

“At Vet Voice Foundation, we consider it part of our patriotic duty to defend an American birthright: our public lands. The Trump Administration's proposed actions to reduce and modify many national monuments is an affront to millions of veterans who served our country and cherish our lands. We condemn this attack on our American heritage.

"We have worked tirelessly for years to support the protection of national monuments enjoyed by service members, their families and millions of our fellow Americans. These monuments do not just honor our past, they are a resource for the future. When many veterans return from active duty, our nation’s monuments give them an opportunity to reconnect with their families and friends as well as their country. We are deeply disappointed that Secretary Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, has failed to protect this precious resource for veterans across America.”

Atem Atem, a Veteran of the United States Marine Corps and acting California Director for the Vet Voice Foundation:

“I have lived and survived the devastation of civil war in Sudan and dreamed of becoming an American citizen and serving to defend my new country.  I am now an American Citizen and I am now a veteran.  I consider it my duty to continue to serve America and to help preserve the public lands that we own as Americans.”

“The destructive actions of Secretary of the Interior Zinke laid out in the Monuments Review he has submitted to President Trump reveal a man far more interested in bending before the special interests of the coal, oil and uranium extraction industries than following in the footsteps of a man revered by outdoorsmen for over a century, President Teddy Roosevelt.  America has for a century allowed its President to dedicate monuments to assure our public lands legacy for our children.  I am deeply disappointed in his actions and urge President Trump to follow President Roosevelt’s legacy.”

Vet Voice Foundation mobilizes veterans to become leaders in our nation's democracy through participation in the civic process. VVF offers veterans the opportunity to continue serving their communities by finding a new mission in domestic and foreign policy campaigns that are important to America.  Vet Voice Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization, organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, for charitable and educational purposes.