It is important to think about and really reflect on the sacrifices men and women of our country make to keep the rest of us safe every day. The courage and valor demonstrated by those serving in the armed forces deserve our utmost gratitude and respect. The freedoms and liberties that we cherish most as a people and as a nation couldn’t be realized or serve as inspiration to countless other people around the world without our fearless leaders in the military.
As we all commemorate Veterans Day this November 11, remember that the idea of democracy and being a free people is worth fighting for, and these men and women answer the call.
Veterans Day was originally known as Armistice Day, declared after WWI hostilities ended on Nov. 11, 1918. Armistice Day was established to memorialize those who lost their lives serving our county during the “war to end all wars.” The continuation of international violence led to the word “armistice” being changed to “veteran” after WWII.
Since this holiday will soon be upon us, I thought it was appropriate to take a moment to share a brief history of this day and what we – as members of the General Assembly – worked on in 2013 to show appreciation and deepest respect to those who serve in our armed forces.
The Emergency Medical Services Commission may now issue an emergency medical service provider license or a certificate to veterans who have comparable medical training. Not only will this address a shortage of emergency medical technicians in Indiana, it will also give qualified, unemployed veterans in Indiana a chance to use their valuable skills.
If you are a veteran looking to go back to school, qualified veterans are eligible for the resident tuition rate at a state university for up to 12 months after discharge. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition can be between $3,800 and $21,400, so allowing veterans to pay in-state tuition rates will hopefully be an incentive for them to take advantage of this opportunity.
Indiana veteran-owned small businesses (VOSMs) are now eligible for the small business set aside procurement policy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for post- 9/11 veterans in Indiana is around 20 percent. This high number will be addressed because not only will veteran business owners now be put to work, but veteran business owners tend to hire other veterans as well. With an estimated number of 71,000 veteran-owned and partially veteran-owned small businesses in Indiana, there are plenty of opportunities for Indiana to contract with them for business.
My office also has resources available for veterans. If you visit my web page, www.in.gov/h55, under Media Room, there is a publications tab where you will find a Veterans Guide with information about veteran benefits in Indiana. You can also call my office at 317-232-9850 and request a copy be sent to your home.
Veterans come from all walks of life and serve in many different capacities. Not only are they the men and women who served overseas in heavy combat, they are those who run communications, work in military hospitals and protect citizens at home. They face natural disasters and clean up after terrorist attacks. They bring peace to wartime countries and protect the innocent from harm. They end oppression and liberate nations from tyranny. Veterans, young and old, leave the safety of their homes and are witness to terrible violence, cruelty and the worst sides of humanity.
My deepest gratitude goes to all those in any branch of the armed forces. Thank you for your service and sacrifice.