Assemblymember Hunter: Military Appreciation Month, Memorial Day a Time to Honor Our Brave Heroes

May 17, 2017

On Memorial Day, weíre reminded that freedom is certainly not free. Since our countryís earliest days, countless brave individuals have made the ultimate sacrifice to secure and protect the rights we hold so dear. This holiday commemorates our fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives in the name of democracy and freedom. May is also Military Appreciation Month, a time for Americans to come together to honor the brave men and women who serve in our nationís military. Letís use this time as an opportunity to show our service members and veterans the appreciation they deserve.

These days, Memorial Day is celebrated in a variety of ways, but in the past, observances included decorating the graves of soldiers with adornments of love, appreciation and patriotism. In fact, the day was called Decoration Day. New York was the first state to enact Memorial Day as an official holiday in 1873, but observances were held as early as 1866 in Waterloo, New York 1. Congress designated May as national Military Appreciation Month in 1999 to acknowledge everyone who played a role in helping strengthen the military, including the families of those who served 2. Today, New York is home to over 860,000 veterans who served as far back as World War II 3. Without our active duty personnel and veterans, we as a nation would not be where we are.

As a proud U.S. Army veteran, I know firsthand that serving in the armed forces is one of the most difficult and rewarding experiences any person can take on. Thatís why itís important that we support our veterans when they return home. As the newly appointed chair of the Assembly Subcommittee on Women Veterans, and the only female veteran in the New York State Legislature, Iím committed to helping expand access to state resources, ensure health coverage and create viable job opportunities for women who have served our nation. Iím also working to foster entrepreneurship among women veterans so they can own and operate successful businesses. I will always stand up for all veterans, ensuring every former and active member of our nationís military has access to the benefits theyíve so courageously and selflessly earned and has the support they deserve.

To all service members, veterans and to the families of those we lost, thank you from the bottom of my heart. My office is here to help. Please contact me if you have questions about this or any other community issue at 315-449-9536 or by email at HunterP@nyassembly.gov.

1 hallofgovernors.ny.gov/generic/memorialdayexhibit

2 congress.gov/bill/106th-congress/senate-resolution/33/text

3 va.gov/vetdata/docs/SpecialReports/State_Summaries_New_York.pdf