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Florida veterans are backing legislation to make November Veteran Appreciation Month

A man with a mask stands at attention as he holds an American flag.
Wilfredo Lee
/
AP
Paul Soles with the Patriot Guard Riders, stands at attention as he holds an American flag, during a Veterans Day celebration and dedication of a memorial, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020, in Riviera Beach, Fla.

Veterans Day is upon us, which means it’s time for service members to be recognized for their commitment to defending Florida and the U.S.

Republican Sen. Blaise Ingoglia and House Representative and current Navy OfficerJeff Holcomb, wants to see the state go beyond just one day of recognition by filing SB 346 & HB 357.

Seth Ramsey is a former Marine Infantryman, who deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan when he was just 20 years old. He’s now 34, and helps other Florida veterans get back on their feet after their military career has ended.

Ramsey agrees with the bills. He says the idea of citizens taking more time out to focus solely on the needs of veterans is always a win for the community.

“My transition was rough at first and I had a lot of learning to do because there isn’t a playbook for it," Ramsey explained. "I hope it [the bill] passes. I think it’s great, we appreciate the support and look forward to seeing it come to fruition.”

 The U.S. flag flies high at a Florida Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Tallahassee, Fl.,November 7, 2023 (WFSU/Anna Jones)
Anna Jones
/
WFSU
The U.S. flag flies high at a Florida Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Tallahassee, Fl.,November 7, 2023

Veterans Day Observance

The month of November is technically already observed, but only on the federal level. Each year, since 1966, the President of the United States give a proclamation, tapping the month as National Veterans and Military Families Month. To observe the month this year, the federal government rolled out a new resource support page for veterans and their families. However, if the legislature and ultimately, Gov. Ron DeSantis, who’s also a veteran approve, Florida could do the same.

Ways to Say 'Thank You Veterans'

According to the proposal, Floridians would be encouraged to come up with special programs and host events all November to show their appreciation for veterans. But it does not give specific examples of what they might be.

“Offer sites where veterans and their families and loved ones could upload photos in tribute to their service members," Billy Francis, a Retired Air Force Pilot recommended.

Francis, who's also the Director of Florida State University’s Student Veterans Center, believes those participating could use different media outlets to share pictures of both deceased and living veterans. He also wants to see local governments create a way to broadcast them live for Floridians to watch at home.

READ MORE: Richmond Heights was founded for Black veterans. Every year, students there celebrate them

“Those could be shared so that on those public service announcements on televisions. Let's say during city council meetings and breaks, those profiles could scroll. I think that'd be a great thing to do.”

Trey Purvis, 35, is a former Navy Sailor. He said he would like to see:

“Maybe more parades as far as this is concerned. I would like to see a city-wide shutdown in a sense, kind of like a homecoming affair where we have full recognition where we list names of fallen team members from different branches and things of that nature.”

A man visits his father's grave for Memorial Day at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery Monday, May 25, 2020 in Mims, Fla. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel
/
AP
A man visits his father's grave for Memorial Day at Cape Canaveral National Cemetery Monday, May 25, 2020 in Mims, Fla.

Florida lawmakers will be rallying back to the Capitol in January. That's when the legislature could take up a vote on whether to designate November as veteran appreciation month.

But even if that happens...

“We’ve done our time, and we like the recognition of it," said Purvis. "But more so, it’s [about] the people who have fallen more than it is about the people who still here. A lot of us would have paid that sacrifice too if it meant a brother or sister still being here and not having their name essentially on a wall.”

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Adrian Andrews
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