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MADISON – Governor Scott Walker highlighted the selfless work of Wisconsin’s service members and veterans today at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union Grove.

“We’re able to enjoy our blessings of liberty thanks to the dedication and willing sacrifices of our veterans and service members,” said Governor Walker. “It’s important we support our veterans and remember their service every day, but on Veterans Day we offer them a special word of gratitude and commemorate all their work in keeping us safe and free.”

Governor Walker was joined in Union Grove by Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Daniel Zimmerman, Department of Administration Secretary Scott Neitzel, Kenosha County Veterans Service Officer Ali Nelson, and Commandant of Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union Grove Randy Nitschke.

Nearly 400,000 veterans currently live in Wisconsin. Recent initiatives supporting veterans include extended funding in the 2017-19 budget to ensure disabled veterans’ spouses and children will be eligible for tuition and fee remission at University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Technical College System schools if they have been state residents for five or more years. The budget also increases grant funding for veteran service organizations, including transportation grants for Disabled American Veterans and Camp American Legion.

Previous legislation signed into law by Governor Walker provides grants to employers who hire veterans and disabled veterans, allows military experience and training to satisfy some requirements for certain professional credentials, waives some professional license fees for veterans, and increases access to job training and employment opportunities for veterans.

In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day, and in 1954, the 83rd Congress amended that act by replacing the word “Armistice” with the word “Veterans,” and President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation. Since the Civil War, nearly 900,000 Wisconsin service members have served in our nation’s wars. Nearly 27,000 of those gave their lives in defense of American ideals, 168 of whom since 9/11.