Men and women in uniform sacrifice every day across the globe for the freedoms we enjoy here at home. Every year on Nov. 11, Veterans Day gives us the opportunity to thank them and recognize their dedication. The commemoration carries the purpose of President Woodrow Wilsons official Armistice Day proclamation in November 1919 to be filled with the solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the countrys service.
To those who have answered the call of our country and served in its Armed Forces to protect and preserve our freedoms, I extend heartfelt thanks of gratitude, said Assemblymember Harry Bronson. These young men and women are our finest, whom we call upon to undertake the most severe task one can be called upon to perform. Our Veterans demonstrate the very best that we are; the very best that we can be.
We currently have over 106,200 troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, in addition to tens of thousands more stationed worldwide.i Every day, soldiers make the ultimate sacrifice serving our country. There are a number of national and local ceremonies on Veterans Day that honor their heroic deeds. One of our nations most moving tributes is the wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery. The remains of unidentified soldiers from World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War are at rest here.
In honor of our Veterans locally the Red Cross will hold a Veterans Day blood drive at the Rochester Museum and Science Center on November 11, 2011 --for more information please call 1-800-773-2767. The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra will team up with the Veterans Outreach Center and Compeer Corps to present a Salute to Veterans Concert: Honoring our Heroes at Kodak Hall, Veterans Day, November, 11, 2011 at 8:00 PM, tickets are $5.00 for the general public and two free tickets for veterans. Call 454-2100 for additional information. I encourage you to contact Veterans Outreach Center at 546-1081 for more information about what you can do to honor our veterans and where to find other Veterans Day celebrations.
Earlier this year, the Assembly passed a resolution I supported that officially thanks our soldiers and commemorates Nov. 11 as Veterans Day in New York State (K-705). Spending just one day a year honoring our Veterans efforts isnt enough; thats why in the Assembly I will work to help veterans receive the respect, honor and benefits they deserve at home.
This year, I sponsored legislation signed into law that would establish a 300-foot buffer zone around military funeral services, protecting a familys privacy from demonstrators (Ch. 528 of 2011) and allow local governments to require permits for any demonstrations taking place within 1,000 feet of the services (Ch. 527 of 2011). Protests that disrupt funerals are an affront to the families of soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. No military family should ever have to suffer such disrespect. They deserve our utmost gratitude and these new laws will go a long way toward protecting them in their darkest hours.
New York State proudly lends its support to a number of programs that ease the transition back to civilian life for military families. Some of the programs include:
- awarding scholarships for undergraduate and graduate studies at schools in New York State to qualifying veterans and their children;
- providing burial allowances of up to $6,000 for soldiers killed on active duty; and
- credit preferences, retention rights, and hiring exemptions for veterans in civil service jobs.
These programs are essential to continuing our support for Americas veterans. This Veterans Day, please join me in showing gratitude for those in our community who fought so bravely on our behalf.
For information about state programs for veterans, visit www.veterans.ny.gov or contact my office at 244-5255.