Thiele: Veterans Sacrificed to Protect Us, Now It’s Our Turn to Honor Them

There are few images more powerful than those of soldiers returning home to their loved ones. Each year on November 11, our nation observes Veterans Day to honor and thank the men and women who sacrificed so much for our country. In addition to recognizing them on this day, I’ve supported efforts to help those who have left active duty search for a job.

In 2012, veterans between the ages of 18 and 24 had an unemployment rate of over 20 percent. That number is expected to rise as approximately 1 million service members prepare to leave the armed forces over the next five years. Issues facing veterans, besides an already tough job market, include difficulty with translating skills acquired in the military into skills that can be used in the civilian workplace. The good news, though, is that many companies and government agencies are working on bridging the gap by learning how to read military resumes and facilitating programs to hire vets.

I’m working in the Assembly to help our veterans find good-paying jobs. I supported several measures, including tax credits for small businesses that hire veterans (Ch. 59 of 2013) and the passage of the Veterans Employment Act, which would require the state to develop a list of eligible veterans who would be given priority for temporary staffing jobs in state agencies (A.7761, passed both houses).

To recognize and thank our heroes for all they’ve done, I also supported a measure to implement a veteran speaker education program for veterans to share their experiences and provide information on American military history (Ch. 183 of 2013). Additionally, I supported a bill that would recognize the many contributions of veterans of the Cold War era by awarding each with a state Cold War Certificate (A.5890, passed both houses) and supported a law that establishes a process to determine the best site for a state veterans’ cemetery (Ch. 57 of 2013). Another law I helped pass requires the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs to provide an Internet connection to correlate military occupations and skills into civilian translations and terms (Ch. 263 of 2013).

On November 11, there are many memorials and parades taking place both nationally and locally to honor our heroes. I encourage everyone to participate in our local parades, celebrations and remembrances.

This Veterans Day, make sure to take time out to reflect on all that our brave heroes sacrificed for our freedom – and thank them.

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