Thanking Veterans for the Freedom We Enjoy

May 26, 2010

Yesterday our nation observed Memorial Day. While some
see it as the unofficial start of the summer season,
the holiday is an important reminder of the enormous
sacrifices so many have made to protect the freedom
we all enjoy today as Americans.

What I love about Memorial Day is the fact that in
nearly every community throughout our great country
there are events that mark the occasion. Maybe it’s
a parade that goes down Main Street, or a wreath dedication
by a local American Legion post, or a flag raising ceremony
sponsored by a town’s VFW. Oftentimes, these events
include a guest speaker who will share his or her experiences
of their time on the battle field and the people they
served with, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice
by giving their lives defending our nation.

Over the past few years we have heard the foolish argument
as to who is a patriot and who is not. One thing is
for sure, those who have fought for our country and
especially those who have given their lives for that
cause are patriots and for that we owe them our deepest

With thousands of troops currently serving in Iraq
and Afghanistan, including many from right here in Connecticut,
it is important that we keep our veterans in our thoughts
all year round.

While there are many support services in place to help
veterans who have had difficulty transitioning to civilian
life, there is always more that can be done. In 2005,
the General Assembly’s Select Committee on Veterans’
Affairs held its first meeting. This committee was formed
so that the legislature could focus on issues that directly
affect the military and veterans in our state. Since
its inception, the Veteran’s Affairs Committee
has been one of the most bipartisan committees in state
government, and this year was no different.

In fact, nearly every bill that was passed out of the
committee this year was done so unanimously. Eight of
those bills passed the House of Representatives and
Senate unanimously and became law. Among them were the

Knowing that the transition from military life to civilian
life can be difficult for some veterans, the legislature
passed HB
5350, An Act Concerning Licensure and Certification
Credits for Military Training
. This bill will
give veterans who have learned a trade during their
time in the armed forces a credit or an exemption towards
the requirements of a professional license or certificate.

5352, An Act Proclaiming March Thirtieth to be Welcome
Home Vietnam Veterans Day
, designates each
March 30 as “Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans’ Day”
to commemorate and honor Vietnam veterans’ return home.
Unfortunately, too many veterans came home from Vietnam
without the honor and respect they deserved from a public
that was bitterly divided. Each year Connecticut’s
Vietnam veterans will finally get the recognition they

Another bill takes a look at the growing concern of
homeless female veteran. HB
5388, An Act Concerning Homeless Female Veterans and
Bilingual Service Officers
, requires the state
Department of Veterans’ Affairs to conduct a study of
homeless female veterans in Connecticut. The study must
include an analysis of the number of such veterans and
information on shelter options and resources available
to them.

These are just a few bills that became law. For more
information about these laws or others affecting veterans
in Connecticut please contact my office at 1-800-842-1421.
I hope you all enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend.