Guest Op-Ed: Honoring veterans on Memorial Day

Each year, Memorial Day is celebrated around the country to recognize the many sacrifices our soldiers have made throughout our nation’s history. It serves as a solemn reminder of the dedication, loyalty and ultimate sacrifices so many men and women have made for our country.

Each one has given us so much to ensure that our freedom and safety are not compromised. I proudly fly the American flag every Memorial Day as a symbol of my appreciation and am always heartened to see my neighbors do the same.

Veterans in New York State deserve to be recognized for their military service. Currently, only some veterans are eligible for pension credit in the New York State public retirement system. This unfairly leaves out too many of our military personnel, like those who have served in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Somalia, and those who served in noncombat roles. Current law also excludes women who have served in the military, leaving them on uneven footing with their male counterparts.

We need to recognize the hard work and sacrifice of all of our veterans. That’s why the Assembly passed legislation that allows veterans who work in public service for at least five years to buy up to three years of pension credit for time served in the military, no matter where or how they served. It’s the least we can do to honor our veterans who have done so much to protect us and our freedom.We’re dedicated to honoring our military personnel by helping them care for their families, and helping ensure that upon returning home they have the smoothest transition possible – providing them with access to proper medical care and treatment, fair opportunities to find meaningful work, and help to continue their education.

We must continue supporting our veterans, active duty military personnel and their families – if only to offer them a small token of our community’s gratitude for all they have given New York and our country.

Assemblymember Peter Abbate represents the 49th A.D. encompassing portions of Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Sunset Park and Borough Park.

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