To the editor:
Many Americans have made great sacrifices in the cause of freedom.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I. In July of 1944, American troops were battling through Normandy; 75 years ago, the battle for the island of Saipan in the Pacific was won; a dozen years ago, the battle of Fallujah raged in Iraq. The courage and bravery of our American fighting men and women stretches around the globe and across the centuries.
In times past, our country awarded bonuses to veterans in recognition for their valor in service. Who could forget programs like the GI Bill which helped educate a generation? In keeping with that theme but on a scale befitting a small town, Raritan Township has implemented a policy that discounts or waives fees for many town services for veterans. Pet licenses, construction permits on your home and recycling fees are just three examples.
We’ve made sure the definition of veteran applies broadly to include our servicemen and women. Everyone who wore the uniform should be recognized and thanked for their service. At the local level, we’ve opened the program to include not only combat veterans, but also any service member who served four years on active duty or six years with the reserve or National Guard.
I’m grateful to my fellow committee members – Mayor Karen Gilbert, Committeemen Michael Mangin, Richard Chen and Lou Reiner – for supporting me and this piece of legislation. We were united and unanimous in approving this policy.
For those who answered our nation’s call, we thank you and salute you for your service.
Craig O’Brien, Raritan Township
Editor’s note: The author is a Navy veteran.