Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day: A time to remember and honor our fallen warriors

Today, on Memorial Day, we cherish the legacy of our nation's fallen warriors who have valiantly served and defended this nation.

We at the Northwest Progressive Institute commend all of the Democrats and Republicans who recently voted in support of Senator Webb's new GI Bill of Rights for those veterans who are still with us. And we recognize our own leaders here in Washington who, unlike George W. Bush, are truly concerned about the challenges facing veterans and their families:
Gov. Gregoire’s husband Mike served our nation as a Second Lieutenant during the Vietnam War. First Mike makes it his mission to work on veterans’ issues in our state.

"I want to personally thank the Governor’s Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee and the Veterans Legislative Coalition for the outstanding work they have done over the past three-and-a half years in helping the governor achieve results for veterans in Washington," said First Mike. "I also want to thank the Veterans Services Organization for the hard work they do on behalf of veterans. Washington is leading the country on veterans’ issues, but there is more work to be done."

Gov. Gregoire and First Mike were joined by around 50 veterans and supporters at the Tacoma VFW Post 10018, including speaker Command Sergeant Major Oria Berendt.

"The governor has accomplished more for vets in three-and-a-half years than what has happened in the past 25 years,” said Command Sergeant Major Berndt. "It’s been a pleasure working with her to make Washington a better place for all veterans."

As governor, Chris Gregoire has signed 47 pieces of legislation addressing veterans’ issues, from providing property tax exemptions to disabled veterans to giving tuition and fee waivers to family members of fully disabled veterans.

"Our governor is extremely pro-veteran," said Sergeant Major James A. (Tony) Woods (retired). "Gov. Gregoire helped veterans, like myself, by freezing property taxes for disabled veterans. She has also waived college tuition and fees for disabled veterans, their spouses and children."

With 672,000 veterans in the state, Washington is home to one of the largest populations of veterans in the United States.

"In promoting veterans rights, individuals can do much, but they need the support of our elected leaders," said Sergeant Major Maurice Sharp (retired).

"I know I stand with a governor who believes in her heart that veterans have a special place," said Skip Dreps, Outstanding Veteran of the Year in Washington State (2000). "Gov. Gregoire believes that if you serve your country or your state in military uniform, then your country and state owes you a debt they can never repay, but can try hard to ease the burden of battle and military service, especially for the widows and orphans of war. Her opponent this time, like last time, believes that veterans' benefits are welfare payments."
Unfortunately, not all of our elected officials are honoring veterans today.

Caskets of U.S. Soldiers


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