Florida veterans are expressing support for proposed legislation, SB 346 & HB 357, aimed at designating November as Veteran Appreciation Month in the state.
The bills, championed by Republican Senator Blaise Ingoglia and House Representative Jeff Holcomb, who is also a Navy Officer, seek to extend recognition beyond Veterans Day, offering a month-long focus on the needs and contributions of veterans.
Seth Ramsey, a former Marine Infantryman who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, believes the bills are a positive step for the veteran community. Ramsey, now 34, assists fellow Florida veterans in their post-military transitions. He emphasises the importance of citizens dedicating more time to address veterans’ needs and appreciates the proposed legislation.
The concept of dedicating November to veterans is not new, as it is already observed at the federal level. Since 1966, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation declaring November as National Veterans and Military Families Month. To align with this initiative, the federal government has introduced a resource support page for veterans and their families.
If approved by the Florida legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis, who is also a veteran, the state would follow suit in recognising November as Veteran Appreciation Month. The proposed legislation encourages Floridians to organise special programs and events throughout November to express gratitude to veterans.
While specific examples are not outlined, suggestions include creating platforms for veterans and their families to upload photos in tribute to service members.
Billy Francis, a Retired Air Force Pilot and Director of Florida State University’s Student Veterans Center proposes using various media outlets to share photos of both living and deceased veterans. He envisions local governments broadcasting these profiles during public service announcements, city council meetings, and breaks.
Trey Purvis, a former Navy Sailor, envisions more parades and a city-wide shutdown for recognition, akin to a homecoming affair. He emphasises the importance of honouring fallen comrades and acknowledges the sacrifices made.
Florida lawmakers are set to convene in January, providing an opportunity for the legislature to vote on officially designating November as Veteran Appreciation Month. Veterans like Purvis highlight the significance of recognising both those who have served and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.