Hello, I’m Justin Fecteau, the State Representative in District 86, representing part of Augusta.
Previous Republican radio addresses have focused on the negative consequences of one-party rule:
This week, I want to talk to you about two bills that Republicans and Democrats unanimously agreed on.
Bills to honor Gold Star Families.
The term “Gold Star” describes a family member who has lost a loved one in military service.
Often described as an honor no one wants, the Gold Star is meant to signify a family’s pride in a loved one’s sacrifice rather than the mourning of their personal loss.
Two bills recently signed into law by Governor Mills demonstrate Maine’s shared respect and recognition of the ultimate sacrifices made on our behalf by service men and women and their families.
One bill, LD 1488, allows families with Gold Star Family Registration Plates to receive complimentary licenses to hunt, trap and fish.
The second bill, LD 1487, exempts holders of Gold Star Family Registration Plates from the plate registration fees.
Both bills apply to a person who is eligible for a Gold Star lapel button or to a grandparent of a member of the United States Armed Forces, if that member dies after March 28th, 1973 as a result of an international terrorist attack recognized by the Department of Defense, or as a result of a military operation while serving outside the United States.
They are consistent with other benefits currently in Maine law, including those with the Purple Heart; Disabled Veterans – including Amputees and Blind Veterans; those with the Medal of Honor; Former Prisoners of War; the Surviving/Spouse or child of Game Warden killed in the line of duty and other benefits for members of the Armed Forces.
In our summertime parades and at our festivals, we often showcase Maine’s longstanding history of national service in our Armed forces. Maine veterans from wars in Korea, Vietnam, and other recent conflicts display their service with pride and share their stories with friends and family.
My story is that of a US Army veteran with 6 years of service – more than a third of my time was spent in Iraq, in both the Western Desert and the capital city of Baghdad.
And while veterans like myself were able to come back and share our stories, there are so many who were never able to.
Veterans stand united in support and gratitude of their fallen comrades and their families.
Right now, a Navy veteran and filmmaker is traveling the country to document the sacrifice of several fallen servicemembers. Just last month, he was in Maine to learn more about the story of Limestone native and Army Master Sergeant Robert Horrigan, who was killed in June of 2005 during a military raid in Iraq.
A quick search on the Gold Star Family Registry reveals that there were 25 Maine Heroes who were killed in action in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Three of those Soldiers, SFC Lowery (of Houlton), PV2 Smith (of Bethel), and SGT Emery (of Lee) were killed in action while I was stationed in Iraq between 2007-2008.
Another 23 Maine Heroes were killed in action in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
As a society, we are judged by how we care for, and honor, those who have sacrificed on our behalf. Thankfully, Maine is a proud and patriotic State that often goes above and beyond for our Veterans.
I am pleased to have Sponsored both of these bills, and that they received unanimous support.
As Maine citizens, we honor our Gold Star families for their sacrifices and the ultimate price paid by their loved ones to preserve our freedom and way of life.
This has been Representative Justin Fecteau with the Republican Radio Address, thanks for listening.
Rep. Justin Fecteau represents House District 86, which is West and North Augusta. He is a German teacher currently on leave from Maranacook Community High School in Readfeld to serve in the Legislature.