INDIANAPOLIS—The House Veterans Affairs and Public Safety Committee met Tuesday to discuss a bill that would direct the Indiana War Memorials Commission to propose a plan for a monument honoring the “men and women of Indiana who lost their lives in the global war on terrorism.”
Rep. J. Michael Davisson, R-Salem, authored the bill and once served on the IWMC board.
House Bill 1071 requires the location, rendering, and estimated cost of the monument to be submitted by November 1. The commission is expected to hold five public meetings in Indianapolis as well as northwest, northeast, southeast and southwest Indiana before submitting the proposal.
Davisson, who served in the military for 17 years in Afghanistan and Iraq and rose to the rank of sergeant first class, replaced his father, former Rep. Steve Davisson, after he died of cancer the year last.
Davisson said HB 1071 was his first bill in committee, and he described the proposed monument as “long overdue.”
“I saw a lot of beautiful monuments that were there to remind us of what we did – the service and the sacrifice that was made by our fellow Hoosiers,” Davisson said. “I thought, you know, it’s time.”
There was no reaction from committee members, with Rep. Chris Judy, R-Fort Wayne referencing his own deployment while supporting HB 1071.
“I had the opportunity to serve in Iraq about 13 years ago…and I had a friend who didn’t come back,” Judy said. “It would be my goal, if re-elected and sitting on ways and means in the next fiscal year, to make it my priority to get that funding from the city.”
The committee was open to testimony and one person came forward.
Brig. Gen. Jim Bauerle, representing the Indiana Military/Veteran Coalition, supported the bill but suggested an amendment that addresses the lack of a Gulf War monument in Indiana.
Currently, the state has the Indiana War Memorial, the Korea and Vietnam Memorials, and the 9/11 Memorial, among others.
The Indiana War Memorials Foundation says of Indianapolis, “No other city in the United States has so many acres dedicated to honoring veterans.”
Rep. Randall Frye, R-Greensburg, advised Bauerle to speak with Davisson. Rep. Renee Pack, D-Indianapolis, who is a co-sponsor of the bill, said she would be “more than happy to be part of this conversation.”
The committee passed the bill 10-0, and it will go to the House, where Davisson expects bipartisan support to continue.
“I fully expect a unanimous vote,” Davisson said, “and look forward to bringing this bill to the House.”
Jack Sells is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.