Caleb S. Cage: Veterans and Military Day benefits National Guard, curious residents
Over the past few legislative sessions, the Nevada Office of Veterans Services has hosted Veterans and Military Day at the Legislature. As the name implies, the event is a partnership event among our office, the Department of the Military and the Nevada National Guard. This year, through our combined efforts, we will be hosting Veterans and Military Day at the Legislature on Wednesday, March 20, in and around the Capitol building.Both our organizations benefit from the fact that this event serves as a reminder of our unity of focus when it comes to serving Nevada’s veterans, service members and their families, but we benefit individually as well. From our perspective, Veterans and Military Day at the Legislature serves many purposes. Through it, we are able to highlight the efforts of our agency and the veteran service organizations to serve Nevada’s service members, veterans, their families and their survivors. We also are able to rally the veteran community and provide an additional opportunity for them to engage with their legislative leaders.The Nevada National Guard benefits from the event as well. It is not every day that the public gets an opportunity to see the latest capabilities of our National Guard, capabilities that have expanded tremendously over the past decade or so. And it is not every day that the public gets to interact with the citizen-soldiers of the National Guard, either. Both the awareness and the interaction are important for many reasons, but especially because of the all-volunteer nature of today’s military forces.Last year we accomplished all of this through a single but very full day of activities. We started in the morning at the Carson City veterans hall, where we met, discussed legislative progress, hosted a few guest speakers and otherwise caught up ahead of the session. Gov. Sandoval signed his first piece of legislation of the session there, a bill that would ensure that deceased veterans were buried with proper honor, dignity, and respect. After that, we went over to the Legislature for various activities that included hosting a lunch for members of the veteran community, service members, our elected officials and the public.For the most part, this year’s event will look a lot like last session’s. The speakers and the legislative topics at the veterans hall might be a little different, and the static displays from the Nevada National Guard probably will be a little different as well. For the most part, though, the model is a successful one, and it ought to allow us to once again enjoy a special day in Carson City. It should be a really great day.One of the events that we participate in at the Legislature is honoring Nevada’s fallen, which has to be one of the most rewarding parts of Veterans and Military Day at the Legislature. The honor is conveyed through an Assembly Concurrent Resolution listing Nevada’s fallen service members over the past biennium; it takes place in both the Assembly and the Senate. I am always proud to participate in administering this ceremony by assisting the members of the legislature and their staffs.This year, the resolution honoring Nevada’s fallen is sponsored by both Assemblyman Tom Grady and Sen. Pete Goicoechea. Mrs. Sally Wiley, a Gold Star Mother and one of Gov. Sandoval’s appointees to our Veterans Services Commission, will accept the resolutions from each house, along with brigadier General Bill Burks, the adjutant general for the Nevada National Guard. The presentations are always solemn and moving events that provide an opportunity to reflect upon the costs of wars for our state.For all of these reasons and more, the day is one of my favorite events we host. It gives us a chance to do so many things, to engage our elected officials, to honor the fallen, to create awareness, to say thank you, to break down barriers, and to enjoy the camaraderie that so often accompanies military service. I am really looking forward to hosting this year’s event.• Caleb S. Cage is the executive director of the Nevada Office of Veterans Services, appointed by Gov. Brian Sandoval. You can read his blog at http://veterans.nv.gov/blog.