Legislature approves days honoring Gulf War, War on Terror vets | Thursday Morning Coffee

‘It could not be more fitting to have this legislation approved … and sent to the governor the week of Veterans Day,’ Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York, said

November 11, 2021 7:10 am

Soldiers lining up for the annual New York City Veterans Day Parade (Getty Images)

Good Thursday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Today is Veterans Day in Pennsylvania and across the nation. And unlike Memorial Day, which is a solemn pause to honor those who have fallen, today is a day to pay tribute to those among us who have stepped up to serve the nation in times of war — and in times of peace.

And just in time for today’s observances, state lawmakers have given their final approval to legislation for special days honoring veterans of the nation’s two, most recent conflicts: The Persian Gulf War and the ongoing Global War on Terror.

The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York, with the support of House State Government Committee Chairperson Seth Grove, R-York, is the brainchild of a York County veteran, Harold E. Redding, whose 22-year tenure in the Army included service during the Vietnam War.

The bill would designate March 6 as Persian Gulf War Veterans Day and Oct. 7 as Global War on Terrorism Veterans Day in Pennsylvania. The bill cleared the Senate on a 47-0 vote in April.

The House approved the bill by a similarly overwhelming vote of 200-0 on Wednesday, adding some language designating Sept. 27 as “First Responders Day” in the state. The bill went back to the Senate for a quick concurrence vote and was finally approved.

The votes by the two chambers mean the bill is headed for the desk of Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf — also a York County resident.

“It could not be more fitting to have this legislation approved by the House of Representatives and sent to the governor the week of Veterans Day,” Phillips-Hill said in a statement. “Sgt. Redding’s steadfast support and commitment to honoring his fellow veterans is commendable. This measure, should it be signed into law, will ensure that the veterans of these conflicts are never forgotten in our Commonwealth.”

Grove offered a similar sentiment.

“It is vitally important we always remember the sacrifices made by veterans. This legislation encourages Pennsylvanians to pause and reflect on the those who served in recent combat,” Grove said. “A veteran of the Vietnam War, Redding knows how a simple thank you and acknowledgment for service goes a long way.”

State Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill, R-York, with Sgt. Harold E. Redding (U.S. Army, ret’d) | Pa. Senate photo

While we’re at it, some fast facts about the Keystone State’s veteran population:

Pennsylvania is home to nearly 800,000 veterans and their families, according to the state Department of Military & Veterans Affairs, whose Office for Veterans Affairs is tasked with providing assistance to former service members and their families.

According to data compiled by Axios, which used Census figures, as of 2019, Vietnam veterans were the biggest chunk of the Keystone State’s veterans population at 261,000.

Gulf War veterans, at 121,000 were the second-largest complement of Pennsylvania veterans, followed by 9/11 or later (113K); the Korean War (61K), and the ever-dwindling ranks of surviving World War II veterans (21K), the Axios analysis found.

Below, you’ll find some special Veterans Day coverage from the Capital-Star. Our thanks for your service.

Pennsylvania State Capitol Building. (Capital-Star photo by Cassie Miller.)

Our Stuff.
State Sen. Gene Yaw, R-Lycoming, has announced plans for legislation to tax and regulate ‘skill games,’ Marley Parish reports.

The votes cast in the race to fill two open seats on a Pennsylvania appellate court will be recounted, the Department of State said Wednesday. Stephen Caruso has what you need to know.

A day before he was supposed to launch a long-rumored gubernatorial campaign, Senate President Pro Tempore Jake Corman, R-Centre, (who already was vaccinated) announced he’d contracted COVID-19Marley Parish has the details.

A Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court panel has voided the Wolf administration’s mask order for K-12 public schools, ruling that acting state Health Secretary Alison Beam overstepped her authority by not going through the usual regulatory channels. The Wolf administration has appealed the decision to the state Supreme Court, I report.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health confirmed 5,269 new cases of COVID-19 in the commonwealth on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to more than 1.6 million new cases since the start of the pandemic, I also report.

Democratic members of Pennsylvania’s congressional delegation touted the home state benefits of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill during a conference call on Wednesday, I also report.

Federal officials on Tuesday offered details about how money from the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill would be spent, emphasizing the pending law’s potential to add clean energy capacityCapital-Star Washington Reporters Jacob Fischler and Laura Olson report.

On our Commentary Page this morning: A Capital-Star Veterans Day tradition continues with our annual reprinting of ‘Dulce et Decorum Est,’ by World War I trench poet Wilfred Owen. Opinion regular Charles D. Allen, of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, has some reflections on what it’s like to be a veteran in 2021. And the federal poverty line doesn’t really capture the struggles of most Americans, an American University sociologist argues.

(Image via The Philadelphia Gay News)

Jurors in the bribery trial of Philly union boss John Dougherty and Councilman Bobby Henon ended their first day of deliberations without a verdict, the Inquirer reports.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has called on businesses to require their employees to get vaccinated by Jan. 1, the Post-Gazette reports.

The Pennsylvania Governor’s Mansion on Second Street in Harrisburg is getting a $1.9 million faceliftPennLive reports.

A Lancaster County farmer sparring with the feds over inspection requirements is now taking advice from anti-government extremistsLancasterOnline reports.

The Morning Call runs down the latest on legislative efforts to expand permit-less concealed carry.

Striking Scranton teachers have appealed to Harrisburg for help, the Times-Tribune reports.

Two teens have been charged in connection with the shooting death of an 8-year-old girl in Delaware County, WHYY-FM reports.

WITF-FM profiles the efforts of a local group that works to ensure that central Pennsylvania’s historic Black cemeteries are not forgotten.

The $76 million in American Rescue Plan that Erie County is receiving is an ‘historic opportunity’ for the region, a local official tells GoErie.

State and local elections officials are bracing themselves for fighting another year of reports.

On Veterans Day, Roll Call takes a look at the forces that drive service members and veterans to suicide.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:


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What Goes On
Today is a state and federal holiday. The desk is clear.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
Capitalism, however, is eternal. Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa, D-Allegheny, holds a 5:30 p.m. reception at The Riviera in Pittsburgh. Admission runs $500 to $5,000.

Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Best wishes go out this morning to Capital-Star Washington Reporter Laura Olson, and Candy Woodall, of USA Today’s Pennsylvania Capital Bureau, both of whom celebrate today. Congratulations, friends.

Heavy Rotation
Here’s one from the late, great Tom Petty to get you through your Thursday. It’s ‘Leave Virginia Alone.’

Thursday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link
Toronto blanked Philadelphia 3-0 on Wednesday night, with the ‘Leafs’ William Nylander scoring twice on the way to the win. Toronto goalie Jack Campbell made 36 saves to earn his clean sheet.

And now you’re up to date.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.