To the Editor: May is National Military Appreciation Month and I would like to take the time to bring attention to the individuals and families in our communities that give so much to protect our freedoms right here at home.
National Military Appreciation Month includes Loyalty Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, VE Day, Armed Forces Day and Memorial Day. Together, these dates help us appreciate the successes and sacrifices of our military personnel and their families. It is important to remember the men and women who have served over the past 230 years of our nation's history as well as recognize those who are serving now. This month recognizes those on active duty in all branches of the services, the National Guard and Reserves plus retirees, veterans and all of their families – more than 90 million Americans.
As a state representative, I am proud to support legislation to honor military men and women. I am sponsoring House Resolution 318, which designates May 2013 as Military Appreciation Month in Illinois. I also am sponsoring legislation to enhance the availability of in-state tuition for the higher education of Illinois service members whose service has required residency in other states, and I recently backed a much-needed bill to expand the protest buffer zone around military funerals to protect grieving family and friends from hateful protesters.
Everyone can participate in helping honor soldiers and military workers. You can start today by displaying an American flag at your home or business, donating to the Wounded Warrior Project or volunteering at your local VA – or by simply saying "thanks" to a veteran you know. I also want to encourage anyone who is looking to get involved during Military Appreciation Month to visit nmam.org.
It is my hope that you too will find a way to give back to the brave men and women that serve us each day!
State Rep. Kathleen Willis