Across our region, and throughout the nation, we will observe this year’s Veteran’s Day with our troops still engaged in the war against terror and at a time when the world’s political stage remains embroiled in uncertainty and instability.It truly is a momentous and dangerous time in world history, and so our annual tribute to America’s veterans takes on many shades of meaning. But most of all we will stand proud, in local ceremonies and observances around the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, to honor the sacrifices and the victories of our soldiers – past, present, and future. And since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 we have realized, all too painfully, that our freedom here at home can be threatened at any moment. We realize, as well, that our troops will always stand ready to protect freedom again and again. The freedoms we cherish have been hard-won by the servicemen and women of previous generations, and by those of this generation who continue to serve. We’re grateful to each and every one of them.Sacrifice is the truth that we remember on Veteran’s Day. We pause in our daily lives to salute the brave men and women — America’s veterans — who fought the wars that have made the United States the greatest nation on earth. This year our thoughts and prayers also turn to the men and women who have been called upon once again to defend our nation and who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of worldwide freedom.To always honor our veterans is the reason that, in 2005, New York became the fourth state in the nation to establish a Veterans Hall of Fame. It’s the reason that in 2006, on Veteran’s Day, the grand opening of the new National Purple Heart Hall of Honor took place in New York’s historic Hudson Valley. The Purple Heart Hall of Honor (www.thepurpleheart.com) has been a remarkable addition to our state’s rich military history. One other way that New York government seeks to constantly honor military service has been through the creation of state agencies and legislative committees devoted to the development and administration of programs and services that seek to address the many challenges facing today’s veterans in areas such as health care, employment and education.For example, the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs (www.veterans.ny.gov) was established in 1945 to assist veterans, members of the armed forces, their families and their dependents. Since then, the division — in concert with its offices in counties locally and across New York — has strongly advocated for New York’s millions of veterans and veterans’ issues at the local, state and national levels. It’s a proud history of service.In addition to the division, each house of the state Legislature has established a veterans committee dedicated to these affairs. In the Senate, the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee concentrates each and every legislative session to identify and formulate legislative responses to the challenges confronting our veterans.The observance of Veteran’s Day is a very appropriate and meaningful way that we, as citizens of the United States of America, collectively show our support for our troops and keep them in our thoughts and prayers. It’s an occasion, most of all, to honor the memories of all those who have gone before.

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