July 26, 2013
Contact: Jodi Quintero [Eves] 841.6279
Commemorating Our Veterans with Action
Korean War Veterans Honored on 60th Anniversary of War’s End
Augusta, Me. – Today we commemorate a historic day for our nation. Sixty years ago the Korean War – often referred to as “the forgotten war” – ended.
Thirteen thousand Mainers served – many who returned with extraordinary stories. Like Bert Dutil, a shoemaker from a Franco family in Lewiston, who told the newspaper that his French language skills landed him a spot next to the generals when they signed the agreement to end the war in 1953.
In ceremonies in Lewiston, Bangor, Sanford, Brunswick and Rumford, more than 1,000 Korean War veterans, like Dutil, will be honored with medals.
As we honor these veterans for their service and sacrifice, we must also look at how we can do more to support our men and women in the military when they return home.
Good morning, I’m Speaker of the House Mark Eves of North Berwick.
Growing up with a military chaplain for a father, I was raised with great respect for the men and women who serve in our military. My father taught me about service, honor, and duty to our country and to each other. These lessons guide me as I’ve serve the people of North Berwick and the people of Maine as Speaker of the House.
This year, the Legislature worked to pass laws that would make a difference in the lives of our veterans when they return home to our communities. From health care to education to job placement, lawmakers stood with our veterans – time and again.
Too often our veterans and their families are struggling to find work when they return from deployment. Electricians, plumbers or nurses, to name just a few, often wait for long periods of time before their occupational licenses are transferred.
They have done so much for us, and we owe so much more to them.
Because of a new law we passed, veterans and their spouses will now be put on a fast track, making it easier for our returning soldiers to join or rejoin the workforce.
The Legislature also extended tuition waivers to children of veterans and passed a law to help disabled veterans get transportation to and from doctors’ appointments so they can get the medical treatment they need and deserve.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment for veterans this session was the Governor’s failure to sign into law a measure that would have provided health care for 2,700 veterans at no cost to the state.
While we fought hard to provide health care for more veterans by accepting 100 percent federal dollars to cover them, the Governor and many of his Republican allies, stood in the way. Despite passing a bipartisan measure that would have allowed 2,700 more veterans to get the care they need and earned from serving country, the Governor told them no.
This heart-breaking disappointment will have consequences for those veterans who depend on this life-saving care.
Many people assume that the nation’s 12.5 million non-elderly veterans receive health benefits through the Veterans Administration. But only two-thirds of those veterans are eligible for the VA health care program. Nationwide, there are about 1.3 million uninsured veterans.
Democrats have pledged to continue to work to get veterans the health care they deserve and to support our men and women in military and their families both when they are abroad and when they return home.
Today we thank our veterans who fought in Korea. It may be the “forgotten war,” but their service will always be remembered. And tomorrow, we will get right back to work -- fighting to get the care and benefits our veterans
you. I’m Speaker of the House Mark Eves, D-North Berwick.