Senator James L. Seward and other senators today proposed creating a New York State Veterans’ Hall of Fame to honor the courage, sacrifice and achievements of service men and women from across the state.
The initiative is the centerpiece of the New York Armed Services Recognition and Support Plan, a sweeping set of bills that expands benefits -- including providing combat life insurance for all New Yorkers serving in war zones, expanding opportunities for higher education, and lower property taxes -- in honor of their service.
"As we prepare to observe Memorial Day and reflect on the sacrifices made by our fallen heroes, it is fitting that we continue to seek new ways to honor and recognize their service," said Senator Seward. "Our proposals initiatives build on earlier efforts like the Patriot Plan to form the most comprehensive benefits package for veterans and military families in the nation."
The hall, only the fourth in the nation, would honor legendary military leaders and everyday soldiers whose deeds and accomplishments both in combat and in civilian life merit special commendation. Included in that group are the 663 New Yorkers -- more than one-fifth of the total -- who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award.
The senators announced creation of a special new website -- nyvets.org -- where New Yorkers can register their support for the proposal.
"New Yorkers from Teddy Roosevelt to Colin Powell, and from the battlefields of Long Island and Saratoga to Baghdad, have shown extraordinary valor and courage in the defense of freedom," said Seward. "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."
The hall of fame proposal is one of 15 bills included in the package, which builds on earlier legislative efforts, including the innovative "Patriot Plan," which provides benefits to service men and women fighting the War on Terror. The new plan expands those benefits and includes new provisions for veterans of earlier conflicts. Other provisions include:
SUPPORT FOR MILITARY FAMILIES
EXPANDED EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY
TAX CUTS AND FEE REDUCTIONS
BESTOWING PUBLIC RECOGNITION
"Given the heroic efforts and selfless sacrifice put forth by New Yorkers serving in our military, it is only fitting that we find every possible way to honor and recognize their service here at home. They give their very best and they deserve the very best in return," Seward concluded.