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Guest Column: State Sen. Tom O'Mara

"Veterans Day"

ALBANY, Nov. 12 -- Across our region, and throughout the state and nation, we observed this year's Veterans Day with our troops still engaged in the war against terror and at a time when the world’s political stage remains embroiled in uncertainty and instability.

It is truly a momentous and dangerous time in world history, and so our annual tribute to America’s veterans was especially meaningful. In local ceremonies and observances around the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions, so many citizens came together to honor the sacrifices and the victories of our soldiers – past, present and future.

I always like to recall former President Ronald Reagan standing tall on the coast of France on June 6, 1984, offering words to commemorate the 40th anniversary of D-Day, “We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared, so we may always be free.”

Always remember. Always be proud. Freedom. These fundamental American principles still echo the very reasons for our nation’s founding and her endurance as the world’s great democracy.

Over the past weekend individual citizens of every age and walk of life joined public officials, veterans and veterans’ families to reaffirm our pride in America’s servicemen and servicewomen and, of course, to turn our thoughts and prayers to those young soldiers whom we’ve lost from here at home – including, most recently in Afghanistan, United States Army Specialist Ryan P. Jayne of Corning and, earlier this year, United States Marine Corporal Christopher D. Bordoni of Ithaca. Throughout the past year we’ve also had occasions to remember other young, local soldiers who’ve
died, including Devin Snyder of Cohocton, Christopher Scott of Tyrone and Zachary Smith of Hornell.
Since the tragic unfolding of September 11, 2001 this generation has realized, all too painfully, that our freedom here at home can be threatened at any moment. We’ve all realized, as well, that our troops always stand ready to protect freedom again and again.

They are true American heroes, and we are grateful to each and every one of them.

One way that New York government seeks to constantly honor the service of our veterans has been through the creation of state agencies and legislative committees devoted to the development and administration of programs and services that seek to address the many challenges facing today’s veterans in areas such as health care, employment and education. For example, the state Division of Veterans Affairs was established in 1945 to assist veterans, members of the armed forces, their families and their dependents. Since then, the division -- in concert with its local offices in counties across New York -- has strongly advocated for New York’s 1.2 million veterans and veterans’ issues at the local, state and national levels. It’s a proud history of service.

Additionally, each house of the state Legislature has established a veterans committee dedicated to these affairs. In the Senate, the Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee concentrates each and every legislative session to identify and formulate legislative responses to the challenges confronting our veterans. One of this year’s new laws, for example, created a Veterans’ Jobs Bank within the state Division of Veterans’ Affairs to assist returning servicemen and servicewomen in finding employment (Senate Bill Number 7766, Chapter 269 of the Laws of

To always honor our veterans is the reason that the New York State Senate has seen fit to establish a Veterans Hall of Fame. Earlier this year I paid tribute to one area veteran, World War II combat veteran and well-known Chemung County historian J. Arthur “Archie” Kieffer, by inducting him into the Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.

Veterans Day is a meaningful way that we, as citizens of the United States of America, collectively show our support for our troops – and keep them, always, in our hearts and minds.

Photo in text: State Senator Tom O'Mara


Schuyler County Officials

Legislature Members:

Top row (from left): Dennis Fagan, Thomas Gifford, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison

Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Phil Barnes, Stewart Field


Legislature Chairman

Dennis Fagan, Tyrone 607-292-3687

Legislature Members:

Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967

Doris L. Karius, 546-5544

Barbara Halpin, 594-3683

Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385

Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517

Phil Barnes, Watkins Glen 481-0482

Stewart Field, Watkins Glen 535-2335

County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133

Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222

Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222

County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181

District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383


State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County

Sen. Charles E. Schumer

United States Senate
313 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-3201
DC Phone: 202-224-6542
DC Fax: 202-228-3027
Email Address:

Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand

United States Senate
478 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
DC Phone: 202-224-4451

State Senator Tom O'Mara -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)

Room 812, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Phone: (518) 455-2091
Fax: (518) 426-6976

Assemblyman Christopher Friend -- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Room 720, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12248
Phone: (518) 455-4538


© The Odessa File 2011
Charles Haeffner
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869