Honoring Our Veterans With Words and Actions

April 2, 2015

Gazing upon the stars and stripes of our nation’s flag, listening to the inspiring words of our national anthem sung beautifully by a Vietnam veteran, my hand placed upon my heart, the love of country was palatable in the Connecticut Capitol Building on Monday.

We had gathered for the state’s Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Ceremony, an annual tribute to pay respect to the Connecticut men and women who served our country so bravely during that conflict. We were there with a simple yet powerful message to our Vietnam veterans: thank you.

It’s because of their selfless and honorable sacrifice that we continue to enjoy freedoms that make this the greatest country in the world. And while those two words carry incredible weight for our veterans, they are, in the end, only words.

Ultimately, it is through our actions that we demonstrate our appreciation, support and respect for our veterans. It is with that in mind that I convey what I am sure is a sentiment shared by you and veterans throughout Connecticut.

I was disappointed to learn that Governor Malloy’s proposed budget calls for a cut to the Connecticut Honor Guard. What this means is that the guard would have two fewer members and, therefore, likely no longer be able to offer the rifle salute that has become a symbolic and well-deserved tribute at veterans’ funerals. I find this proposed cut disrespectful, and I will fight on behalf of our veterans and their families to ensure the funding is saved and this tradition is not lost.

The revelation of the proposed cut was particularly disheartening given that I was excited by the work we have been doing this session in the Veterans’ Affairs Committee of the General Assembly. As one of the leading Senators on that committee, I would like to share with you the bills that we voted to support and pass along to the General Assembly. The list of bills can be found here.

Our veterans have sacrificed so much in their service to our country. It is our responsibility to serve them when they return home, and not just offer them empty words and promises.

Looking out at the Vietnam veterans gathered at the Capitol on Monday, I knew that this is, indeed, the land of the free and the home of the brave.