Albany Observes Veterans Day 2014
As they did in many cities across the region, people lined the streets of New York's capital today for the 59th annual Veterans Day Parade. Albany's parade stepped off at the corner of Central Avenue and Partridge Street at 11 a.m. Marchers proceeded down Central Avenue past a reviewing stand on the steps of the old NYS Education Building.
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy is currently a Sergeant 1st class with the New York National Guard. He was deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006 and most recently aided in the disaster relief following Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. "This is a great day, Veterans Day, for these people to come out and to celebrate what we take for granted. We take our freedom for granted, a lot of people do. And to recognize our military veterans, our men and women that go out and serve our country day in and day out, and don't look for a pat on the back, this is nice for people to say 'thank you, thank you for your service, and we're here for ya.'"
Veterans Day is one of those "gray" holidays: some people have to report for work, some don't; some government agencies are closed, some are not. There's an initiative up north to make it a full-fledged holiday. One poll shows 82 percent of Canadians support a bill before Parliament to make November 11th a national statutory holiday. In Canada, November 11th is known as "Remembrance Day."
Capital Region Congressman Paul Tonko says, for him, "every day is Veterans Day." "The selflessness and the undeniably deep-rooted sense of patriotism that enables us to continue to be the strength that we are becaus eof the honor roll of citizens dubbed veterans that have served us so well. We also need to keep in mind those who are on the battlefield this very moment. Our sons and daughters hwo are fighting to save this world from terrorist activities. They need to be remembered, especially today."
Meanwhile, the Office of Albany County District Attorney David Soares is rolling out "Joe for G.I.'s," collecting ground coffee for local veterans. "For the month of November we're asking the public to donate coffee or any other materials related to coffee, stirrers, filters, creamers, donate those materials to us, the district attorney's office, we have several locations all throughout the county. We will be providing the coffee to our local V.A."
- For the month of November, we will be collecting ground coffee at the Albany County District Attorney’s Community Justice Outreach Office at 155 Clinton Avenue in the City of Albany. Please drop off ground coffee and supplies like filters, creamers, sugar, and cups to our location. The public may also donate ground coffee and coffee supplies to any local courts that our office holds routine office hours. You may find a list of these courts here. Please call our Outreach Office at (518) 275-4735 to arrange for a pick-up of any large donations. If your agency or business wants to sponsor a month’s supply of donated coffee and supplies, please contact our office and ask how you can contribute to our “Joe for G.I.’s” program.
The coffee will be brewed and served in waiting rooms at VA hospitals. Soares says the program will continue beyond November, it has a few corporate sponsors and he's looking for more to sign on.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed legislation that would have authorized state pension credits for peacetime military service. The legislation, authored by Hudson Valley Republican and World War II combat vet Senator William Larkin, would have amended current law that provides up to three years credit toward state pensions for military service during hostilities.
They would have to pay 3 percent of their compensation during those military years to the retirement system. Assembly sponsors say the U.S. now depends on a volunteer military, and to encourage citizens to join, the state needs to recognize all veterans by giving them pension access.
In his veto message Friday, Cuomo said it's an unfunded mandate on local governments that would incur $57 million in near term obligations.
Now, Larkin is teaming up with GOP Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, calling on the legislature to create the G.I.V.E. Back NY program (Giving Internships for disabled Veterans not fully Employed) to enable disabled veterans to participate in the Assembly and Senate’s annual legislative internship program.
Tedisco and Larkin’s legislation sets aside 10 percent of the current Assembly Session Internship and Senate Student program positions for service-disabled veterans to apply to be part of the first-in-the-nation initiative.
The two propose G.I.V.E. Back NY enrollees receive an $11,500 stipend for the semester-long program. They say there’s no additional cost to taxpayers to implement G.I.V.E. Back NY.
New York U.S. Senator Charles Schumer joined with local veterans and service members Monday to push the Jacob Sexton Military Suicide Prevention Act, a bill he says would help stem the growing military suicide rate by expanding mental health screening. "The day we forget our soldiers who are fighting for us, and the day we forget our veterans who have fought for us, is the day the sun sets on the United States. Plain and simple."