Recognizing the “COLD WAR” Veterans
Why do we exclude some veterans from benefits offered by the State of Michigan and the counties?
From 1946 until the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States was in a constant state of readiness. Did the men and women who served during those times just show up for work? No, many of them served in dangerous locations where the threat of invasion from Soviet aggression was high. Were the MP’s and units station in Berlin, not at a constant state of vigilance.
Did the US Air Force service members who worked at the bases, where fighter jets were on constant alert, not serving with distinction and ready to fight at any moment? How about the B-52 bombers, they had pilots and ground crew, sitting at the ready with nuclear bombs not at war? How much thanks do we owe the silo officers for the many days they spent in the silo’s, training and waiting for the call to launch, that never came?
During the “Cold War” there were enemy engagements not recognized by the VA for benefits. The State of Michigan defines only war time or times when expeditionary medals were given as veterans. The Michigan Legislature is working to change that.
"Cold war" means the continuous period of hostile acts against the United States by communist bloc forces beginning September 2, 1945 and ending December 26, 1991.”
Representative Damrow has introduced House Bill 4571 to redefine the state definition of a veteran. This will allow veterans who served during the Cold War access to the benefits offered by the State, i.e. the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund.
The American Legion Department of Michigan supports this house bill. Michigan Legionnaire Don Lotter has been at the forefront of this legislation for many years. This would allow as many as 190,000 new veterans to request emergency grant money in times of need. There is strong support by the committee members, but in past years the vote was not favorable due to concerns that it will violate the Headlee Amendment in the State Constitution. The Michigan Legion understands this and supports the addition of an amendment to allow counties to opt in or out of this new definition of a Michigan Veteran. The counties offer specific veteran benefits and this may increase the counties cost, hence a unfunded mandate. It is our hope that the county governments will recognize these Cold War Veterans.
Contact your representative and ask them to support HB 4571.
The American Legion Department of Michigan represents over 70,000 members in the State of Michigan. The American Legion was founded in 1919, based on “The Four Pillars”; veteran rehabilitation, Americanism, child welfare, and national security and continued above all its mission as a consumers’ advocate for veterans. For more information contact the Michigan Legion at 517-371-4720 ext 16, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website at www.michiganlegion.org.