Veterans rally for more rights on State House grounds - DatelineCarolina

Veterans rally for more rights on State House grounds

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James Brown says events like this help with the "healing process" for veterans. James Brown says events like this help with the "healing process" for veterans.

By Alex Grant

Veterans from across South Carolina gathered at the State House yesterday rallying for increased rights and benefits.

The veterans gathered at the State House steps for speeches from the Erin McKee, president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, as well as attorney Bill Smith.

Among other things, the veterans say they want to receive state tax exemption for military and retirement pay, extend benefits for eligible surviving spouses, increase funding for the VA and expand services for low income and homeless veterans.

James Brown, an officer with the Richland County Veterans Affairs Office, said while the rally serves as a chance to lobby for benefits, events like these help build relationships among veterans.

"It brings back memories for us who served as comrades in the jungles of Vietnam. We share war stories and we share experiences," Brown said.

Veteran Rosalyn Peterson said events like this are important for getting veterans the benefits they need as time changes.

"You have to have supporters come out and support the veterans, as well as the veterans coming, so we can try to get the things that we deserve, and not just partial," said Peterson.

Rally organizers said they hope legislators are taking their message seriously, and if not, they'll be back again next year.

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