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Honoring and Remembering Ohio’s Veterans

Since the founding of our country, millions of men and women have answered the call to arms in defense of our nation. Their sacrifice allows us to live in peace and freedom, and as we celebrate Veterans Day we recognize and pay tribute to the courage and pride embodied by more than 23 million American veterans. While we will never be able to fully express our gratitude, my colleagues and I in the Ohio Legislature have been working on several measures that seek to honor our veterans while also easing the burden on them and their families.

Earlier this year, the Legislature approved Senate Joint Resolution 1, a proposed constitutional amendment that would provide one-time cash bonuses for Ohio veterans who served in the conflicts in the Persian Gulf, Afghanistan and Iraq. This proposal appeared on the ballot as State Issue 1, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters on Election Day.

Under State Issue 1, the state will issue up to $200 million in bonds in order to provide eligible veterans a $100 cash bonus for every month of service, up to $1,000. Servicemen and women stationed in other locations during those conflicts would be eligible for bonuses of $50 per month, up to $500. The proposal also includes a provision that provides for a $5,000 death benefit to be paid to the family of any soldier who is killed in the line of duty.

The passage of State Issue 1 continues Ohio’s tradition of approving bond issues in support of our troops. Voters first approved a constitutional amendment to benefit returning World War I veterans in 1921. Since then, voters have approved similar measures to support veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

In addition, the Senate recently passed Senate Bill 147, legislation that seeks to make changes to Ohio’s next-of kin laws in order to ensure our state is able to participate in a national effort to ensure all Ohio veterans are accounted for and properly interred.

In Congress, U.S. Representative Pat Tiberi (R- Ohio) has introduced legislation that would direct the U.S Secretary of Veterans Affairs to work together with veterans’ service organizations and other groups to determine if cremated remains that are unidentified or abandoned are those of veterans eligible for burial at a national cemetery. This includes paying the costs associated with the funeral in the event a next-of-kin cannot be identified.

However, current Ohio law allows only the deceased’s next of kin to take possession of the remains unless otherwise specified, causing many remains to go unclaimed or unidentified in Ohio. Senate Bill 147 would grant an exception to the next-of-kin law to permit the Secretary to inspect unidentified remains in funeral homes and hospitals and take disposition of the body in cases where a set of remains is successfully identified as a veteran. Senate Bill 147 passed the Ohio Senate last month and is currently being heard in the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Finally, I would like to take a moment to congratulate the three veterans from southwestern Ohio who were recently inducted into the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, which recognizes the post-military achievements of outstanding veterans from across Ohio. Approximately 20 veterans from all branches of services are selected for induction each year from nominations submitted by Ohio residents. More information about the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame, including a full listing of each year’s inductees, can be found online at

The Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame Class of 2009 includes Jack Meyer, a resident of Hamilton County who served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War. Mr. Meyer is a life member of the Military Officers Association of America and serves as a Board member for the Council on Aging of Southwest Ohio. He has also served as President of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter and Vice President of the Ohio State Council of Chapters.
The other inductees from our area are both area residents of Butler County – Phillip Shriver, a U.S. Navy veteran who served in World War II and Robert Woods, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Dr. Shriver is President Emeritus of Miami University, where he taught popular classes on the history of Miami University and the history of Ohio. Miami University’s student center is named in his honor.

Mr. Woods is the State Commander of Ohio’s Patriot Guard Riders. The Patriot Guard Riders honor those who have paid the ultimate price in defense of our country, and attend homecoming events for military personnel returning from deployment to ensure that all veterans, service members and their families receive the honor and dignity they deserve.
Our veterans deserve the thanks of a grateful nation for their courage and service to our country. This Veterans Day, I hope you will join me in recognizing all those who have served our country with honor and distinction. As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have questions or concerns about any state-related matter. You can reach my office by phone at (614) 466-9737, by e-mail at or by writing State Senator Shannon Jones, Ohio Statehouse, 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 43215. I look forward to hearing from you.

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