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Remembering Our Military Heroes

By Jim Reed  |  May 25, 2021

On Memorial Day, the nation sets aside time to honor those killed in military service and to express empathy and compassion for their families.

To mark the day, communities host parades that typically include veterans organizations and military service members. Other traditions include visiting cemeteries and memorials and flying the flag. Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer, with families joining together for barbecues and weekend outings.

People can reflect on the significance of Memorial Day by observing the National Moment of Remembrance, pausing for one minute of silence at 3 p.m. local time to remember those who died in defense of our nation.

Though Memorial Day specifically honors those who have died in military service to America, we also can pause in gratitude for the millions of veterans who continue to serve in numerous ways in communities across the country.

State legislators have been working on behalf of military veterans for many years, connecting them with important benefits and services. NCSL recently produced a new resource with information on veterans who are currently serving as state legislators, Military Veterans in State Legislatures for 2021. This analysis conducted after the 2020 elections identified at least 911 military veterans currently serving in the legislatures of the 50 states and five U.S. territories.

NCSL’s Task Force on Military and Veterans Affairs works to improve the health and well-being of service members, veterans and their families through consideration of state policies addressing veteran employment initiatives and hiring preferences; development near military installations; education programs; mental health; housing; and benefits for military personnel, veterans and their dependents. Consult the Military and Veterans State Legislation Database (20017) for more on the bills state legislatures are considering and enacting on military and veterans issues.

Jim Reed staffs the NCSL Military and Veterans Affairs Task Force.

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