Monday marks the state’s 143th annual Memorial Day celebration, a time to recognize those Kansans who lost their lives while serving our country and to celebrate the bravery of those men and women currently in uniform.
As I write this note, I am attending an Army medical conference, where a number of warriors have recently returned home after fighting to save lives from the ravage of war.
It’s a privilege to hear their stories first hand. And to know that these highly-trained medical soldiers have achieved a 93 percent survival rate of those injured in battle. Still, many of our veterans return home wounded and in need of support for themselves and their families.
Let us never forget that obligation to those and others with disabilities in our communities.
In honor of the nearly 300,000 living Kansas veterans — including those who’ve just returned — the Kansas Legislature this year approved a bill that will make it easier for active duty military personnel to vote in Kansas elections.
Now signed into law, the act allows Kansans who are deployed overseas to register and cast an absentee ballot by e-mail. The same rules apply to a spouse or voting-age children who are living outside of the United States due to the deployment of a family member.
The Kansas Senate also unanimously approved a resolution, encouraging the state to expand services to Kansas’ 33,000 military children in addition to programs currently offered by the Kansas Department of Education and Operation Military Child Care.
Finally, an executive order signed this year permanently extends the 30-member Governor’s Military Council. The voluntary commission serves as a vital resource to military families by promoting the important role the military plays throughout the state, advocating for jobs and improving the quality of life for all military families.
Having spent 32 years as an Army Medical Service Corps officer, both in the reserves and on active duty, I know how important initiatives like these are to our deployed servicemen and servicewomen.
We owe our thanks and our respect to those who serve, those who have served, and the family members who sacrificed to allow that service.
I stand with you and your families in honor of their duty to this nation.
Sen. Allen C. Schmidt,