Senator Carl L. Marcellino and members of Long Island’s State Senate delegation today received a major push in their efforts to create a New York Veterans Hall of Fame, as hundreds of Long Island veterans rallied in support of the plan at the American Airpower Museum, in Farmingdale.
"When our nation is at war, our brave and dedicated soldiers answer the call to duty without hesitation. These men and women who haven taken up arms to secure and defend our homeland have demonstrated time and again their courage, heroism and commitment to defending our freedoms. They are an inspiration to all of us and deserving of lasting respect and recognition. The New York Veterans Hall of Fame will honor our veterans and make sure that their sacrifices to our great Nation will always be remembered," said Senator Marcellino.
The Hall would honor legendary leaders and everyday soldiers whose deeds and accomplishments both in combat and in civilian life merit special commendation. Included in that group are the nation-leading 663 New Yorkers that have earned the Congressional Medal of Honor - more than one-fifth of the total.
"New York is already home to Halls of Fame that recognize great baseball players, soccer players, wrestlers, even thoroughbred race horses. Our real heroes, the men and women who have served - and continue to serve - our country, deserve no less," said Senator Trunzo (R, Brentwood), a U.S. Army veteran who is sponsor of the Hall of Fame plan.
Deputy Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R, Rockville Centre), said, "New Yorkers from Teddy Roosevelt to Colin Powell, and from the battlefields of Long Island to Baghdad, have shown extraordinary valor and courage in defense of freedom. Their service and accomplishments earn them the special recognition that only a Hall of Fame can provide, as a fitting expression of our gratitude and admiration."
Senator Michael Balboni, chairman of the committee on Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs, said, "We owe the freedom we cherish today to the extraordinary acts of veterans who served throughout our country’s history. With this Hall of Fame we will honor and recognize their service on the battlefield and here at home."
The legislation (S.431-A) provides for the creation of an 18-member council of veterans from across the state which will determine the location and design of the facility and establish the rules for nominating and inducting veterans.
Senator Marcellino added, "Today we also remember the men and women who did not live to be called "veterans." I believe that our State should be there for those New Yorkers who have paid the ultimate price. That is why the Senate passed my bill that would provide critical financial support for the New York National Guard troops and their families by having the State pay for $250,000 of life insurance for every active member of the State’s National Guard. Anyone can say that they hold our soldiers close to their hearts, but the Empire State will be there to help put our families back together."