We the Veterans Day set at Leg Hall

March 26, 2024

Duty, honor, country. These are not just words, but a credo from the lifestyle military service brings to all who have served. Currently, 99.3% of our nation’s citizens have never served. That means 0.7% of our nation’s population who have served in our military have borne the responsibility for those who have not or never will serve our nation in this way. This then helps all of us understand and perhaps define why the words duty, honor, country mean so much to so many. 

As an all-volunteer force for decades, our young men and women enter a contract with our country to protect and defend us against all enemies, foreign and domestic. To do so, our service members commit to rigorous physical training to prepare their bodies to meet the physical demands and challenges of distant operations in faraway lands. Additionally, specialty training in a didactic setting creates specialists in the career fields. Continued value-added training, both career field related and military specific, makes our service personnel elite members of a team focused on mission readiness on demand 24-7. There is no other military in the world that matches the combination of physical, mental and specialty training our troops receive, period. This training is ongoing and career long, and produces experts in fields valuable to the civilian workforce, if not from a discipline standpoint alone. Facts tell us employers seek and value those with military experience. They are select hires, valued for their work ethic, understanding teamwork, determination, dedication to mission success and discipline others may not possess. 

While physical toughness is a requirement, mental toughness and personal awareness are part of the training as well. Recent history tells us our military has been directed to deploy our nation’s finest on a repeated basis over the past many years. No one is fully prepared for the separation from family, friends and familiar surroundings that deployments bring. Statistics reveal that with each successive deployment, the percentage chance of PTSD increases, and those with four wartime deployments are near 100% guaranteed to suffer from some form of PTSD. Thankfully, over the past several years, heightened awareness of the toll these deployments extract from our service members has risen to a priority, and remarkable progress has been made. That said, sadly, regardless of age, 22 veterans per day will end their own life. We need to do better.  

As we continue to ask our military to accomplish the extraordinary, many ask what can we do to recognize the service members’ service beyond saying the appreciated “Thank you for your service.” While benefits for service are earned, many veterans feel if they take the benefits earned, they are displacing another more needy. This thinking has caused Delaware to lose benefit funding. How can we raise awareness in the veteran community and those who represent us at the state level?  

This month, Delaware state representatives and senators will set aside a day to honor and respect our veterans. Thursday, March 28 will be We the Veterans Day at Legislative Hall. While honoring our veterans is the purpose, we also welcome veterans to meet with and discuss needs specific to military service with their representatives and senators by appointment.  Many veterans are interested in the following topics:

  • We believe Delaware’s 70,000-plus veterans and 35,000-plus dependents deserve to be represented by a cabinet secretary
  • We believe we deserve funding to support more than the 10 to 12 veterans service officers currently employed in Delaware to help serve those 70,000 veterans
  • For our unique service to our country, we believe we deserve an increase in the tax exemption for a larger portion of our military pensions (Senate Bill 201) 
  • We believe more medical services should be available locally to our aging veterans
  • We support the Veterans Directed Care program understanding we are one of only 10 states that does not have this program to keep veterans out of assisted-living facilities.

We ask all veterans to plan to join us at Legislative Hall for the inaugural We the Veterans Day from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., Thursday, March 28. Go to to register and for more information. Please wear your colors, join in on the camaraderie, make an appointment with your legislators, and be honored on the floor of the House and the Senate. The seven legislators who are veterans look forward to welcoming all!

Rep. Jeff Hilovsky is a retired colonel with the U.S. Air Force Reserve and represents District 4 in the Delaware House of Representatives.
  • Cape Gazette commentaries are written by readers whose occupations, education, community positions or demonstrated focus in particular areas offer an opportunity to expand our readership's understanding or awareness of issues of interest.

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