Louisiana veterans honored with new state medal - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Louisiana veterans honored with new state medal

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BARKSDALE AIR FORCE BASE, LA (KSLA) - Louisana's veterans are receiving special recognition for their service, thanks to a new honors medal created by the state legislature.

At a special ceremony held Tuesday at Barksdale Air Force Base for more than 270 of the state's veterans, Anne Comeaux accepted the Louisiana Veteran's Honor Medal on behalf of her son, Sgt. First Class Kurt Comeaux.  "It shows they're not forgotten...and we can NEVER forget our young men and women that came back home, plus those that didn't come home. They came home in a casket."

SFC Comeaux was killed in Iraq January 26, 2005 in Tangi, Iraq along with several members of his Louisina Nationa Guard Unit, Charlie Company out of Houma.  They were killed in an explosion as they rode in a Bradley tank in Tangi, Iraq.   SFC Comeaux was 34 years old, and leaves behind 3 children.  His mother was just one of hundreds of family members of the 53 soldiers killed in action, all from Louisiana, accepting the gratitude of the state for their service and sacrifice on Tuesday.

"Well I couldn't imagine them calling Justin's name and not having somebody to stand up for him," says Sharron McNeese, who's son Justin was a Marine Lance Corporal killed in the battle of Fallujah. "He was a very proud Marine and we're very proud of him."

"To these families, I am deeply honored to be in your company," Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal told the families Tuesday, "I thank you and your loved one for making the ultimate sacrifice for our country." Jindal was there to personally present the Louisiana Veteran's Honor Medals to nearly 300 Louisiana veterans and their families, representing conflicts spanning all branches of the armed services going back to World War II. "It represents our respect and our commitment to this country and our acknowledgement of their many sacrifices for our freedoms."

Louisiana Sen. Senator Robert Adley (Dist. 36), a veteran himself, wrote Senate Bill No. 644, which passed in the Louisiana Legislature last year.

Adley's bill created the Louisiana Veterans's Honor Medal, which is inscribed with the message, "Louisiana appreciates your service to our country," recognizing a growing "club" of servicemen and women tied together forever by the sacrifices of war and service to their country.

"The thought crossed our mind that everyone in Louisiana that has served the public in the armed services we ought to express our gratitude, whatever branch and whatever service and whatever war whatever conflict,"says Sen. Adley.

The program will recognize and honor Louisiana's 366,000 veterans.  According to Louisiana Departmemt of Veterans' Affairs Secretary Lane Carson, the medal will "honor those that made the ultimate sacrifice by giving their lives in defense of freedom; those former Prisoners of War, as well as those who remain Prisoners of War and/or are missing in action; those who were wounded in action and received the Purple Heart; and all of our veterans who honorably served our nation and state." Secretary Carson adds, "This medal is in recognition of veterans' honorable service in the Armed Forces of our country, and our department, along with the Governor and citizens of Louisiana, express our sincere appreciation for their sacrifice, dedication, and willingness to serve our great state and nation."

Louisiana is one of only two states that will honor its veterans with an appreciation medal.

After the ceremony, Jindal pointed out that "Louisiana has one of the highest rates of volunteers who joined the military, we have one of the highest rates of deployment per capita in the country and yet we continue to see our brave men and women enlist and re-enlist. What a great honor to give out Louisiana's Honor's medals today. We'll continue to do this throughout the state."

Click here for the names of Tuesday's recipients.

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