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Parker: Honoring our veterans

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State Rep. Tan Parker
State Rep. Tan Parker

As we embark upon the holiday season and the start of a new year, I hope you will join me in taking a moment to reflect upon the gift of freedom.  On November 11th, our nation will observe Veterans Day in honor of the bravest and most courageous of citizens.  Originally referred to as Armistice Day and chosen for the date in which World War I is generally regarded to have concluded, Americans have the opportunity to honor veterans for their patriotism along with their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

We as Americans are truly blessed to have the ability to enjoy our most cherished gift of freedom not only on Veterans Day but also throughout the entire year.  This is even more reason why we should offer gratitude and find meaningful ways to honor those who have bravely answered the call of duty to defend this country and the values and principles that make America great.

The Texas Legislature has taken important strides in recent years to honor our veterans and provide them with the tools to prosper after their service.  Through state run programs and services, we have placed a strong emphasis on helping veterans find suitable employment upon their return to Texas and to gain the job training skills necessary for them to succeed in their chosen field.  Thanks to a new law passed this recent session, veterans returning to state employment can immediately receive state benefits for their families and themselves instead of having to wait through a qualifying period.

With the help of voters all across Texas, we have amended our state constitution on multiple occasions to provide additional property tax relief to veterans who are disabled due to their service, including a full exemption to veterans who are 100% disabled and their surviving spouses.  If you are a veteran interested to know more about state and local support services, please visit the Texas Veterans Commission website at www.tvc.state.tx.us/ or the Veterans of Denton County at www.veteransofdentoncounty.org.

Here locally in Denton County there are many opportunities for us to show our appreciation and celebrate Veterans Day.  On November 9th, the City of Highland Village and the Highland Village Business Association will host their annual Salute Our Veterans luncheon.  Last year’s event was attended by over 150 individuals from all across our county.  Flower Mound will be hosting a picnic followed by a ceremony to honor our veterans on the 8th, and then their 2nd annual Veterans Day Relay on the 11th.  The Denton County Veterans Service Office will be teaming up with Texas Woman’s University and the University of North Texas to host a celebration on the 11th at the downtown Denton Square, along with other local events.

In issuing the first Veterans Day Proclamation, President Eisenhower stated, “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.”

We must all rise to President Eisenhower’s calling, but more importantly we must answer that calling on a continual basis and not just on one particular day.  So please join me in showing your appreciation for our service men and women collectively on November 11th and also individually through your continued acts of kindness and thoughtfulness to our nation’s veterans.

As always it is an honor to serve you in the Texas House of Representatives, and I welcome your feedback on this and any other critical state issues.  If you would like to share a thought with me, please feel free to contact me at my Capitol office at 512.463.0688 or by e-mail at tan.parker@house.state.tx.us

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