Legislators, Governor honor armed forces

By Jimy Valenti
THE COLORADO STATESMAN

Members of the General Assembly met in joint session on Monday in celebration of Military Day. Legislators showed their admiration for those who served with a series of speeches, tributes and resolutions.

Gov. Bill Ritter kicked off the day’s events with remarks honoring Colorado’s armed service men and women. He said Colorado has a special relationship with the military because one in ten Coloradans — or 426,000 — have served.

“We can say that we are here to appreciate the military, but at the end of the day, one of the real tests of our commitment to the military will be those things we do for our veterans,” said Ritter.

Thirteen members of the General Assembly served in the military. Rep. Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, wore his full military uniform along with several others. All the names of Fort Carson GIs who died in the past year were read aloud before Taps was played in the state House chambers.

The Legislature passed three resolutions in joint session honoring the troops, wounded service men and women and the Colorado National Guard.

HJR 10-1004 — Military Day 2010 — was sponsored by state Reps. Nancy Todd, D-Aurora and B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, and Sens. Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, and Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, plus all the other House and Senate members.

The resolution thanked the 60,000 active duty service members in Colorado for their contributions in protecting U.S. security and peace: [The General Assembly] “Extend our heartfelt gratitude to our state’s veterans, past and present… and that we encourage the citizens of Colorado to join in the celebration of Colorado’s Military, Veterans and MIA/POW Appreciation Day on January 25, 2010…”

HJR 10-1005 — Honoring Wounded Warriors — was sponsored by Reps. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, and Nancy Todd, D-Aurora, and Sens. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs, and John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, in addition to all the other state senators.

The resolution cited the 32,000 U.S. Servicemen and women who have been wounded in action since Operation Enduring Freedom, which began in 2001, and stated that they deserve the highest quality of care and support the U.S. could provide.

Fort Carson’s Warrior Transition Battalion, along with Fort Carson’s Wounded Warrior Program, was applauded for providing high-quality care to those injured in combat.

HJR 10-1006 — National Guard 150 Years — was sponsored by Reps. B.J. Nikkel, R-Loveland, and Joe Rice, D-Littleton, along with all the other representatives, and Sens. Mike Kopp, R-Littleton and John Morse, D-Colorado Springs, plus all the other state senators.

Lawmakers with children currently serving in the military also addressed the Legislature. Several tributes and introductions of the service members in attendance completed
the ceremony.

Members of the Senate who served in the armed forces are Sens. Bill Cadman, R-Colorado Springs, Rollie Heath, D-Boulder, Mike Kopp, R-Littleton, Brandon Shaffer, D-Longmont, and Al White, R-Hayden.

Members of the House who served include Reps. David Balmer, R-Centennial, Brian DelGrosso, R-Loveland, Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, Kent Lambert, R-Colorado Springs, Mike May, R-Parker, Joe Rice, D-Littleton, John Soper, D-Thornton and Mark Waller, R-Colorado Springs.

Jimy@coloradostatesman.com