By Governor Pete Ricketts
July 30, 2018
Official photo here.
This past week was significant for Korean War veterans across the country. On July 27th, the nation observed the 65th anniversary of the signing of the Korean Armistice Agreement. On this anniversary, President Donald J. Trump announced that North Korea has returned 55 cases with remains of American military killed in the war. The cases have been flown to South Korea and then they will be transported to the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency laboratory in Hawaii for identification.
While the Korean War is often referred to as “the Forgotten War,” Nebraska has not forgotten the service of the many veterans who served our state and our country in this conflict. We want the 13,000 living Korean War veterans in Nebraska to know that we appreciate the sacrifices they have made in defending our republic. To express our gratitude to them, and all of Nebraska’s veterans, we have been working to honor our veterans, deliver better service to them, and expand opportunities for the next generation of servicemen and women.
To highlight the 65th anniversary of the Korean Armistice Agreement, we held a special ceremony at the State Capitol to honor our veterans. At the ceremony attended by over 300 Nebraskans, the Nebraska Department of Veterans’ Affairs (NDVA) and a representative from South Korea helped present Ambassador for Peace medals to 70 veterans. Korean War veterans we honored served in Korea between June 25, 1950, and July 27, 1953, or participated in United Nations Peacekeeping operations in the country before January 1, 1956. During the program, I also signed a proclamation declaring National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day in Nebraska.
In addition to formally recognizing the service of our veterans, we are constantly working to make Nebraska the most veteran-friendly state in the nation. Last year, the Legislature and I worked together to merge the state’s two veterans-related agencies to create a one-stop shop for veterans for better, integrated service delivery. NDVA provides our veterans with information on their rights, benefits, and other sources of aid. Now, they also oversee our veterans’ homes in four communities from Bellevue to Scottsbluff. In August, the agency will be hosting a ceremony to cut the ribbon on the new Central Nebraska Veterans Home, which will provide world-class accommodations to hundreds of Nebraska veterans.
We are also working to expand job opportunities for the families of the next generation of Nebraska’s military servicemen and women. We recognize that military service takes a toll and presents unique challenges for spouses seeking employment when military families are frequently relocated. Last year, Senator Bruce Bostelman of Brainard and I worked together on LB 639 to increase employment opportunities for the spouses of military members and veterans. Senators and I have also successfully worked together on legislation to help provide reciprocity for spouses who hold professional licenses from other states.
This year, I approved revisions to Rule 21 to make it easier for teachers from military families moving to Nebraska to get a teaching permit here. Military spouses with a valid out-of-state teaching license can now receive a three-year teaching permit in Nebraska. Cutting red tape makes Nebraska friendlier to military families, and it has given our schools the opportunity to employ high-quality teachers in a timely manner.
Right now, Nebraska has about 130,000 living veterans according to the most recent estimates. Working together, we will continue to identify new ways to make Nebraska the best state in the nation for our veterans and active duty military. As President John F. Kennedy once said, “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers.” If you have suggestions on how we can continue to make Nebraska veteran-friendly, I hope you will take the time to contact my office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 402-471-2244. We look forward to hearing your ideas.