By Martin O'Malley, Governor
This week as we recognized Veterans Day, we paused to honor those brave soldiers who have defended our nation throughout history. Yesterday, I shared the holiday with over 200 World War II Veterans from Maryland, whose sacrifices in the armed forces provided the foundation for progress in America. Our nation is built upon the generations of brave men and women who squared their shoulders against the forces of fear and tyranny so that we could continue to enjoy the blessings of this nation and our way of life.
Over the course of our administration, we have made significant progress to honor our veterans who serve honorably to protect and defend our country.
Together, as One Maryland, we:
-- Implemented $125,000 state death benefit for the families of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan;
-- Funded the Iraq and Afghanistan Scholarship Program;
-- Provided the ability for spouses of military personnel to collect unemployment insurance when they have to leave their jobs due to an out-of-state transfer;
-- Enhanced veterans' state work force status, providing added protection during reductions in workforce; and
-- Funded an $800,000 reintegration program for National Guard members to assist them in returning to their families, jobs, and communities after difficult deployments.
Just as these veterans have always been there for us through times of turmoil and tranquility, through famine, flood and war we as a people are committed to being there for them. This summer, we signed into law legislation that ensures that Maryland's veterans receive the reintegration services they deserve. In addition to providing crisis services and the means to identify ways we can better provide behavioral benefits for our veterans, this legislation helps those veterans obtain access to mental health services upon their return home from deployment.
We are blessed to have been born in the strongest and freest republic ever known and that, as a free people, we are not guaranteed a certain future. Instead, that future is secured by men and women who are willing to step up, especially in times of great adversity, because that's what defines the character of a nation.
Currently, more than 370 troops from Maryland remain active in Iraq and Afghanistan. To those currently serving, and to the veterans of America: Thank you.