MEDAL OF LIBERTY

By Bob Katzen

A bill heard by the Veterans Affairs Committee would expand the current law that requires the Medal of Liberty to be awarded to the next of kin of Bay State service men and women killed in action or who died in service while in a designated combat area in the line of duty or who died as a result of wounds received in action.

The bill would expand the number of eligible veterans and require a medal to be awarded to the families of service members who died in service while in the line of duty or who died as a result of wounds received in service while in the line of duty. This eliminates the rule that the death had to be in combat, a war zone or as a result of action of an enemy.

“So often we see our service members suffer tragic circumstances during training exercises, accidents and other unforeseen events,” said the bill’s co-sponsors Reps. Brian Murray (D-Milford) and Michael Soter (R-Bellingham) in a joint statement. “While these situations are not necessarily combat-related, the dedication of our service men and women, as well as the loss their families suffer, are no less than if they were. As such, we should have a means of recognizing their sacrifice in an appropriate and respectful manner.”

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