Even at a time when our country seems divided, Governor Peter Shumlin says one thing that unites us is respect for those who served.
“Ultimately the veterans must be supported, must be loved, must be appreciated,” says Shumlin.
The state honored seven veterans with Vermont Veterans Medals and Distinguished Service Medals, which honor vets who served in combat warfare.
“They have a big parade when somebody comes back and that’s it. You know this means a lot to me,” says Jim O’Malley, who served in the Army National Guard during Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm.
O’Malley, who lives in Waterford, was honored with both medals.
He says those who are often forgotten are the loved ones left behind during times of war.
“People don’t understand that. I had a son who was 12 and my daughter was 15, and I was gone for 13 months,” says O’Malley.
Ever since 2002, Vermont has honored veterans with these medals for their service
This year the state honored veterans who served in WWII, Vietnam War, Persian Gulf War, and peacetime.
“Veterans that have fought in the best democracy in the land, this cuts across partisan lines and we need a little bit of that right now,” says Shumlin.