Oneida County to launch “Operation Green Light” in support of local veterans
In advance up the upcoming Veterans Day holiday, the county announced that buildings will be illuminated green from November 7 through November 13 as part of Operation Green Light, a new national collaborative initiative of the National Association of Counties (NACo) to support military veterans, as well as raise awareness about the unique challenges faced by many veterans and the resources that are available at the county, state, and federal level to assist veterans and their families,
The new national collaborative is spearheaded by the National Association of Counties and the National Association of County Veteran Service Officers, building upon the successful efforts of the New York State Association of Counties and the NYS County Veteran Service Officers’ Association in 2021.
“Since the tragedy of September 11, 2001, our nation’s voluntary military force members and their families, have made immense sacrifices for our safety and security over a two-decade period,” said Board of County Commissioners Chairman Bill Lewis. “Similar to the sacrifices of previous generations of our armed forces, this service to country also often results in significant stress to many of the veterans who served in times of war and conflict. We want to make sure our veterans and their families know that their service mattered, that we are grateful for their sacrifices, and that it is now our turn to make sure they are served by their county government and our community.”
Resident are encouraged to participate simply by changing one light bulb in their house to a green bulb. This can be an exterior light that neighbors and passersby see, or an interior light that sparks a conversation with friends. By shining a green light, we are letting out veterans know that they are seen, appreciated, and supported.
While the event is focused around the week of Veterans Day, participants are encouraged to continue shining the light year-round. Residents can share their participation on social media using the hashtag #OperationGreenLight.
“Operation Green Light is a simple way to express our collective appreciation for the for the public service of our veterans,” said NACo President Denise Winfrey. “We encourage everyone to join us in displaying a green light for veterans and to also reflect on how we, as a nation and at the county level, assist our military service personnel back into civilian life upon completion of their service to our country.”
NACo hopes to “shine a light on the plight of veterans in counties across the country who are having a hard time connecting with benefits after serving their country.” According to recent statistics, “11.7 million veterans are over the age of 65, which is about 61 percent of all veterans.” National Veterans and Military Services Committee Chair Chris Lukasevich reports that “we have a problem in this country—it’s extremely difficult to transition from military to civilian life.” Operation Green Light is designed to “send a clear message to inspire veterans to reach out to their county veteran service officers.”
Plans were discussed at last week’s County Commission meeting to arrange for the distribution of green lights to those who would like them. The American Legion Post 65 has also passed a motion to support the operation in whatever ways are necessary.
Those interested can visit naco.org/operationgreenlight for more information and links to resources available to veterans, and watch this paper for further details on the operation as they develop.