The Pryor Times

November 10, 2012

Honoring veterans

Senate Minute
Sen. Charles Wyrick

— Nov. 11 is Veterans Day, the day set aside each year to honor all our veterans, those who are living and those who have passed on, and to express our thanks to the men and women who have served our nation in times of peace and in times of war.

This year a new law is on the books to help us honor our veterans through a new driver license designation. Last session we approved legislation for a special insignia on state driver licenses that includes a small imprint of an American flag and the word “veteran.” Tag agencies have already begun installing the new equipment needed for this and all tag agencies in the state should be able to produce these special driver licenses within the next four to five months.

There may be a special event or program available to veterans that requires some proof that they did indeed serve in the armed forces. This special driver license is a convenient way to provide that proof of service. Anyone wanting to add this special icon identifying them as a veteran can get one by taking their military discharge paperwork to their local tag agency—it is available for any Oklahoma who is currently in the military or who has been honorably discharged.

Another bill we approved in the 2012 session honors our veterans by helping make the transition back into private life a little easier. This legislation ensures the skills and training they received while in the military can translate to accreditation for equivalent positions in the private sector. Our service men and women gain a wide range of skills in fields like medicine and computer science. Now they can get credit for the skills they’ve mastered, and that will help them as they move out of military service and back into the workforce.

In addition to honoring our veterans by developing new programs and policy to acknowledge their service on our behalf, it is equally important to honor promises made in the past—and that includes making sure Oklahoma service men and women will have quality care at our state’s veterans centers. Throughout the interim, studies have been conducted in both the House and the Senate examining serious problems in some of these centers, and listening to testimony from family members, residents, medical professionals and employees about these concerns and how they can be addressed.

When it comes to caring for our veterans, we must ensure that the respectful and compassionate care of our heroes is the first and foremost priority for Oklahoma.

As always, I welcome your comments on state government. Please feel free to contact me by writing to Senator Charles Wyrick at the State Capitol, Room 521, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105; call me at (405) 521-5561.