CARMEL, NY - The Traveling Wall returned to Putnam County this week, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the start of the Vietnam War. State Senator Terrence Murphy, who was invited to read names of the fallen during the opening ceremony, used the occasion to call on Governor Cuomo to sign Murphy's legislation declaring the Vietnam Veterans of America a benevolent order that was passed by both houses of the legislature earlier this year.
"The names on the Travelling Wall memorialize the 58,000 men and women of our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice," Murphy said. "They live on through us, and through the charitable works and endeavors of their brothers and sisters in the Vietnam Veterans of America like my Uncle Peter. He and all Vietnam vets deserve the same rights and privileges as other veterans and veterans' organizations, so they can better support the next generation of America's war veterans and continue to serve our communities."
Murphy's legislation passed the Senate on March on Vietnam Veterans Day and made it through the State Assembly just before Memorial Day. It passed both houses unanimously.
The bill would grant certain benefits and honoraria to the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) which they have never before received, but are available to other veterans' organizations in New York State, such as the storage of records, flags, relics, and other memorabilia for prominent display within the hallowed halls of state capitol.
If signed by the Governor, it would be Murphy's first "statewide" bill to be chaptered into law.
This is considered a rare and prestigious feat for a freshman lawmaker in their first term, particularly in cases such as this when it is new legislation and not simply extending some lapsing law passed by a predecessor.
The Governor has till the end of the year to sign the bill, and Murphy is hoping the Governor's office will call for the bill on or before Veterans' Day. Until then, the Travelling Wall will be open and on display in the Putnam County Veterans Memorial Park until the closing ceremony at noon on Sunday.
The Governor resides in the town of New Castle, in Murphy's Senate district.