OP-ED: OUR VETS DESERVE RESPECT

 

 

Currently, thousands of veterans in New York are without proper resting places.  It is only right that we provide them with the burial honors they have so valiantly earned. 

BREWSTER – (2/23/2012) – Our veterans have been instrumental in protecting this country ever since its inception during the Revolutionary War.  The men and women of New York State have proudly served America and her interests over the past two-plus centuries, accepting the call of duty with full knowledge of the personal risks they were assuming.  From the beaches of Europe to the mountains of Afghanistan and everywhere in between, our veterans have made tremendous sacrifices, oftentimes exchanging their own lives for the safety of the United States.  We needed, and still need, them; now, they are the ones in need of recognition and respect.

The creation of a New York State Veterans’ Cemetery would most certainly help honor the fallen servicemen and servicewomen of New York State.  Currently, the Veterans’ Affairs Cemetery Grants Program has seen the creation of 79 burial grounds in 38 states and territories, and witnessed over 28,000 burials in 2010 alone.  Sadly, New York State’s absence from this program equates to nothing less than a great disservice to our veterans.  Consequently, these men and women are being denied access to the earned burial benefit due to a lack of proper burial grounds within 75-mile radii.  My bill would right this wrong by providing the framework for the creation of veterans’ cemeteries, which would alleviate the current absence of appropriate sites.  The New York State Veterans Cemetery Act would allow New York to join the VA Cemetery Grants Program, paving the way for eventual construction and proper recognition of thousands of our veterans.

Of course, there have been concerns raised over the prospective price tag of the cemeteries.  Given the current economic climate, such reservation is understandable; however, the actual cost to taxpayers is minimal.  For example, the establishment of a veterans’ cemetery in the Hudson Valley, which would cost around $5 million, would be mostly covered by the federal government

The price of instituting proper recognition of our veterans is miniscule compared to the price that each of these men and women paid serving this country.  Our veterans deserve the utmost levels of appreciation and the highest expressions of respect; it is only fitting that we, as thankful citizens, provide the departed with honorable resting places.

I would encourage everyone to contact Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and let him know we need to pass the Veterans’ Cemetery Bill in the Assembly immediately: (518) 455-3791 or speaker@assembly.state.ny.us.

For more information or to speak with Senator Ball, Contact Brittany Oat (845) 200-9716.

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