BOSTON (WWLP) – Service members from Massachusetts who die in battle are awarded by the state, but what about those who die from invisible wounds years later?
On Tuesday the head of the Massachusetts National Guard, Major Gary Keefe urged lawmakers to act on a bill that would create a new medal to give to military families that lose their loved ones after they’ve already served.
Typically the state awards the ‘Medal of Liberty’ to families that lose their loved ones from wounds sustained in combat. Governor Charlie Baker filed a bill this session to create a new medal, called the Medal of Fidelity, which would be given to the families of service members that die from PTSD or other health complications.
“You know that is directly tied to their service, and the trauma that they were exposed to in places like Iraq and Afghanistan and I want the family members of them to know that this bill contemplates them and their sacrifice,” Senator Velis told 22News.
Before the committee votes on the bill, Senator Velis said he wants to make sure suicide is on the list – because many great soldiers take their own lives and their service should always be remembered.
With the 20 year anniversary of 9/11 coming up this weekend, many lawmakers believe now is the time to pass this bill, so that thousands of families across the Commonwealth can finally get the peace they deserve.