A little known fact in America regarding our nation's armed forces, is that our National Guard and Reserve service members are not currently given recognition as "Veterans" once they retire, due to lack of a qualifying period of "active service under federal orders". In fact many of these retirees are unaware themselves, and report being surprised to learn that they aren't legally veterans, upon ending their 20 plus year long careers defending the nation. Fortunately, this is about to change, and Americans will soon be honoring these Heroes properly under a new bill.
This week, the Senate passed a bill granting "honorary" Veteran status to as many as 200,000 Reserve and National Guard retirees, with the House expected to adopt similar language in the near future as well. While this bill would not extend what benefits they are currently receiving under federal OR state laws, it would certainly grant them the honor of and respect of the American people that goes along with the term "Veteran."
Rep. Tim Walz, D-Min., whose standalone bill the House will be considering, says, "I bet there weren’t ten people in America who knew these guys weren’t veterans."
He is probably right. As a retired Army National Guard command sergeant major himself, he is passionate about getting his bill passed for the honorable men and women who, he says, would have gone anywhere their country asked, but were never deployed, and therefore stuck in this category.
“We have written this thing with the best lawyers to get it as tight as possible,” he said of his bill. “It truly is what I say, a show of respect for those people who get their 20 years.”
(Article courtesy of Stars And Stripes)
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