Archive for Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remember our veterans, troops

November 11, 2008

This week we celebrate Veterans Day. On this day, each year, we pause to show our gratitude to those who have served this nation at home and abroad.

Our veterans have played an important role in shaping our state’s history, from those who fought to establish Kansas as a Free State in the Civil War, to today’s soldiers who have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and every soldier who has participated in the battles in between.

Veterans’ Day reminds me of the service of my own father, John Gilligan, who fought in World War II, along with his two brothers, and all returned home safely. But one of my mother’s two brothers, who also were WWII veterans, made the ultimate sacrifice, and we honor his service and legacy.

It was an army general who grew up in Abilene, Kan., who proclaimed the very first Veterans Day. In his proclamation, President Dwight D. Eisenhower urged us to “remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us re-consecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.”

We need to remember those Kansans serving all over the world, still in harm’s way, and keep them and their families and loved ones in our prayers. For all veterans have done for us and our country, they deserve not only our thanks, but our continued efforts to honor their service. That’s why, here in Kansas, we’ve taken significant steps to assist our military personnel from the time they begin their active duty to their transition back to Kansas as veterans.

Our veterans have a wide variety of resources available to them from both the federal and state governments. Federal programs are administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs and more information can be found at www.va.gov. For a comprehensive list of Kansas services available for military personnel, military dependents, and veterans please call the Kansas Commission on Veterans’ Affairs at (785) 296-3976 or visit the Governor’s Military Council website at www.gmc.ks.gov and click on the “Military Bill of Rights, Veterans and Families” link in the left hand column.

Through these federal and state services we provide a support network to veterans not only on Veterans Day, but every day of the year. It’s the very least we can do.

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