Aloha!Today there are ceremonies across the country recognizing the men and women who have served this nation in our military forces.
In Hawai’i, many residents and visitors may not be aware of our commitment to honoring our veterans who now lay to rest. There are eight State owned and operated veteran cemeteries, located on all our islands except Niihau. Nearly 20,000 veterans are buried at these sites and are visited nearly every day by family members and friends.
Our veterans deserve special care, which is why I am pleased to announce that I have appointed retired Colonel Ronald P. Han as our State Director of Veteran Services.
Col. Han is a graduate of ‘Iolani School and the University of Hawai’i. He spent over 28 years in the Hawai’i Air National Guard, before retiring this past summer. Col. Han will be responsible for overseeing the many federal and state programs that benefit our veterans and their families. I am confident that Col. Han will do an excellent job, in serving all of our veterans and community at large.
Under his leadership you can expect changes in the near future in the Office of Veteran Services (OVS) including a new website that will have the latest veteran news, benefit information and resources contacts. OVS is also in the process of establishing a new State Veteran ID Card that we hope to introduce sometime in the next year. This card will help those veterans, who do not qualify for VA Health or retirement pay, by giving them something that will prove their prior status as a member of our Armed Services. With it, they will be able to receive some civilian benefits that are available to all prior military people.
In honoring the men and women who served in our armed forces, I reflect upon that rare courage that they each have in putting their lives on the line for the freedom that all of us enjoy. I am in admiration of that shared bond in our servicemen and women who give everything of themselves for each other and for our country. Thank you.
Our veterans have and continue to give us all they have. I assure you, we will never forget.
Governor Neil Abercrombie