“There’s still a great deal of work left to ensure our nation’s military families receive the support and respect they deserve … We can only have a full understanding of the reality of war if we hear from those who have felt that reality most deeply, the loved ones of the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation.” –Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty
Report by Paula Antolini
September 22, 2016 4:26PM EDT
Photo: Rep. Esty speaks with Gold Star families in Waterbury.
Congresswoman Esty: ‘Support Families of Fallen Heroes Act’ and ‘Gold Star Families Voices Act’ Could Soon Become Law
Message from Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty released today:
Not long after I was sworn into this office, I met with Gold Star families in Waterbury, Connecticut. The stories they shared that Memorial Day still resonate with me today the pride they felt in their loved ones’ service to our nation and the immeasurable loss they carry with them everywhere they go.
Their stories inspired me to do more to honor the sacrifice of our fallen service members and to ensure our nation does everything possible to support their families. That’s why I returned to Congress and introduced the Gold Star Fathers Act, which extends formal hiring preference for federal jobs to fathers of disabled and deceased veterans.
It goes almost without saying that both mothers and fathers are deeply affected by the loss of a child in combat. Previously, however, only Gold Star Mothers were given preference when applying for federal civil service jobs. In many cases, not only have our Gold Star families undergone significant trauma emotionally, but they may have also lost a source of their financial stability or even have mounting medical bills from the care of their loved ones. My bipartisan Gold Star Fathers Act ensures that we support all parents of service members lost in the line of duty, and I was proud when President Obama signed this measure into law last year.
There’s still a great deal of work left to ensure our nation’s military families receive the support and respect they deserve. Last year, I introduced the Support the Families of Fallen Heroes Act, to provide additional resources for the programs that have helped thousands of military families deal with their grief and rebuild their lives after losing loved ones in the line of duty.
Most recently, I joined with Rep. Christopher Smith (R-NJ), in calling on the House to pass the Gold Star Families Voices Act, bipartisan legislation I cosponsored to document for posterity the stories and sacrifices of Gold Star families. I shared with my colleagues the stories of three families from Connecticut’s Fifth District: the Nolans, the Kights, and the Reichs. You can watch my remarks at https://youtu.be/rFsuTTaweP8 or by clicking the image below.
I am happy to report that the House of Representatives unanimously passed this bill. As soon as it passes the Senate and becomes law, Gold Star Families will be invited to share their experiences and the stories of their lost loved ones as part of the national Veterans History Project.
We can only have a full understanding of the reality of war if we hear from those who have felt that reality most deeply, the loved ones of the brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation. I have eagerly participated in the Veterans History Project, conducting interviews with veterans from central and northwest Connecticut so that future generations can benefit from their stories of service.
If you or someone you know is interested in the Veterans History Project, click here for more information. You can also contact me by email or call me at 860-223-8412.2. To find out more about my work in Congress, visit my official Facebook page or follow me on Twitter and Instagram.
Member of Congress