By Governor Pete Ricketts
“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” President John F. Kennedy’s words ring true now more than ever. Each year, Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to set aside the things that divide our country, and celebrate the men and women who have served our country through the years. This day is set apart to honor their service and sacrifice which have protected the freedom and liberties we hold in common as Americans.
This Veterans Day marks 98 years since we first observed this celebration. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day commemorated the cessation of fighting in World War I on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918. After World War II, a veteran developed the idea to expand the meaning of Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, and it became known as Veterans Day.
As Nebraskans, we not only recognize Veterans Day in our state, but we also look for opportunities to honor our veterans all year long. Our veterans sacrificed much to keep us safe on overseas battlefields, and they also continue to serve at home in their communities. I know from personal experience how much the continued service of our veterans contributes to the Good Life. As the Chief Operating Officer of the online brokerage firm Ameritrade, several key team members who worked for me previously served in the military. As Governor, I have hired a former Navy officer as Chief Human Resources Officer, a U.S. Army Officer to lead Administrative Services, and a Captain from the JAG Corps to lead Veterans Affairs.
This year, my administration worked with the Legislature on a number of new initiatives that are helping make Nebraska a better place to live, work, and raise a family for veterans.
My mission as Governor is to make state government more effective, more efficient, and more customer-focused. This year, senators and I streamlined services for Nebraska veterans by merging the two state agencies that serve them. This is something Nebraska veterans have been seeking for years. Through LB 340, we unified the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the Division of Veterans’ Homes, formerly part of the Department of Health and Human Services. A single agency created a united team working for the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our state and country.
The Legislature and I also worked together to break down barriers for veterans and military families seeking job opportunities. We eliminated unnecessary requirements for military spouses with occupational licenses and expanded the hiring preference in Nebraska to include spouses of service members. We also waived the requirement for veterans to resubmit certification for a key property tax exemption if no change in medical condition has occurred. Finally, we created five additional Military Honor License Plates to recognize the service of members of the reserves of the armed forces.
These are just some of the ways we are making state government work for our veterans and their families. My administration will continue to look for additional ways to make the Good Life an even better place to be a veteran.
This month, it is my hope that each Nebraskan takes the opportunity to honor all past and present servicemen and women as well as their families. This can be as simple as attending an event on Veterans Day; stopping at the local VFW or American Legion chapter for a meal; or taking the time to visit a neighbor to let them know you’re grateful for their service. They have made incredible sacrifices. Taking the time to share your appreciation through a few words or time out of your day will mean the world to them.
Please join Nebraskans and Americans from across our country in honoring veterans for their service. Throughout the year, you can visit www.veterans.nebraska.gov for a calendar of veterans related events. I hope you will check it out. Additionally, if you would like to share a story about a veteran’s service, I want to hear from you. Please call my office at 402-471-2244 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. By Governor Pete Ricketts