Politicos honor veterans

In a day of celebration and remembrance, veterans across Connecticut were honored by the state’s elected officials.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell on Monday called on communities across the state to observe Veterans Day with “appropriate commemorative exercises.” Among other contributions to state veterans, she announced the allocation of a $2-million federal grant to Connecticut to institute a five-year program, which will be overseen by the state’s Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, to help returning veterans overcome trauma-related disorders and re-enter their communities after serving minor jail time.

Rell also called for Connecticut residents to display the American flag. At the Colonel Gates Veterans Cemetery in Rocky Hill, Conn., she announced plans for a state veterans memorial, in recognition of their service to the country and state.

“From the Revolutionary-era militias through today’s sophisticated defense structure, American service members have defended our country in times of challenge, brought honor to the United States and created a solid foundation for its continued security, growth and prosperity,” she said in her proclamation.

Sen. Chris Dodd was in New Britain, Conn., Tuesday at a ceremony honoring veterans. He later met with veterans at the Veterans Home and Hospital in Rocky Hill, Conn.

“Some veterans who commit minor crimes that are the direct result of traumatic wartime experiences, need treatment, not incarceration,” Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services Thomas Kirk Jr. said in a statement. “As they recover, this program will help them improve their lives, enhance the quality of life for everyone in the community and reduce demand on the correctional system.”

Sen. Joe Lieberman ’64 LAW ’67 said in a statement that those who put their lives on the line in defense of their country need be given all the help they need when they come home.

“Our responsibility is to ensure that when these heroes return home, they receive the very best in services and care,” he said. “That is the minimum we owe to those who have given us so much.”

Nov. 11 has been a public holiday since 1918, commemorating the Armistice at the end of World War I. It was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 when President Dwight D. Eisenhower decided to include all veterans.

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