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Opinion: Honoring Connecticut’s veterans on Veterans Day

State Sen. Bob Duff.

Saturday is Veterans Day, which gives us the opportunity to thank all the men and women who served in the armed forces for the sacrifices they made so that we may preserve our democratic way of life here in America.

Whether through a personal conversation, a phone call, a greeting card sent in the mail, or by observing your own moment of silent reflection, please take the time on Saturday give a special “thank you” to those who have served in America’s armed forces.

As a legislator, I’ve tried to do right by our veterans over the years, and I have helped pass various new state laws that I believe make Connecticut one of the most veteran-friendly states in America. These recent laws include:

  • The recent state budget provides $525,000 a year for the next two years for Honor Guards at veterans’ funerals; this is a 60% spending increase over the $325,000 a year we spent in 2017.
  • Connecticut veterans don’t pay any state or federal income taxes on their military retirement pay; this saves about 11,000 Connecticut veterans several millions of dollars every year.
  • Veterans who have 90 days of wartime service are eligible for a $1,000 local property tax exemption, while veterans with a certain income level and/or veterans who have a disability connected with their service are eligible for additional local property tax exemptions.
  • Veteran-owned businesses receive a 15 percent preference on bidding for state contracts.
  • Tuition costs at state universities and community colleges can be waived for certain veterans and their dependents.
  • Any veteran discharged with an honorable discharge is eligible for burial in the state veterans’ cemetery in Middletown; their spouses are also eligible for this benefit.

I want to encourage everyone to take time this Saturday, Veterans Day, to remember and celebrate the men and women who have fought bravely for this country. It is because of our veterans that we are able to enjoy our great quality of life.
Honor a Local Veteran

Connecticut’s Wartime Service Medal is available to anyone who served in the armed forces during a time of war and was a Connecticut resident at the time or currently lives here. Many veterans from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq received the medal as part of their discharge packets, but most veterans who served prior to 2005 are unaware of the medal’s existence. If you believe that you or a loved one may be eligible and would like more information, please visit this website.

One comment

Donna Smirniotopoulos November 10, 2017 at 12:54 pm

One of the best ways for State legislators to help veterans is to help them keep more of their income in their pockets. Connecticut vets, after paying for housing, don’t have much left to live on, in spite of the giveaways because housing and taxes are too high and there aren’t enough jobs for skilled labor. Maybe if the emphasis in Hartford were less about keeping the SEBAC people happy, we’d all be better off.

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