In my previous blog, “Hometown Love,” I wrote about my court experience against Southampton, Massachusetts, and voiced some frustrations and hurt feelings that came from it. (I need to say again that the people I’ve spoken with at the town have always been kind and respectful to me.) I figured maybe twenty people or so would read the post, but it grew like one of those little foam capsules that turns into a dinosaur. The views increased by the minute and people shared the post on social media all over the place!
At first, I didn’t think it was a big deal, then people started to contact me in many different ways wanting to help. I told them that we should redirect the anger towards a positive future for survivors and veterans. I think we should fight to let the people vote to waive the two-year waiting period for those who aren’t from Massachusetts. Anyone should feel welcome here, and the voters are the ones who should decide it. Right now, if we keep this alive, that’s the best help.
“What if we can get the town to pass this change because of Dad?” I said to Tyler a few days ago.
“What if it goes federal?” he answered. Anyone who knows Tye won’t be surprised by his ambition, and he’s right. We need to at least try.
I love the energy this is getting. In many comments, people reminded me to look around and see the beauty and peace this town keeps. I also saw, once again, the kindness and love in the people of this town. It’s incredible fuel for us, and I’ve slept so well the past few nights. There’s an intense appreciation for his sacrifice as well as warmth and a sense of true community.
I especially love that thousands of new people are seeing Roger’s name. They saw his picture and there are many new readers of my memoir pages. They’re learning stories about him and seeing what a Gold Star family was before they were known for his sacrifice. Along with the energy, as long as it doesn’t fizzle, a little information about the benefit itself will help in our quest.
Here is an example of how the benefit works: (The link is listed at the end of this page showing the breaks and qualifications.) Let’s say Jane was born and raised in Massachusetts. Jane meets Bob in North Carolina when she is visiting her friend. Bob is from Wisconsin. They fall in love, marry, and live together on base. Bob goes to war and is killed in action. Jane wants to go home to Massachusetts to be with her family but does not qualify for the benefits to assist her financially. This is because Bob was not from Massachusetts. There are other scenarios, and they’re all confusing. My point is; Jane should be able to go home to her family for the support she needs. She should qualify for the tax break. Every state is different, and the towns and cities also have some say. The benefit is so generous, and completely needed.
I spoke with someone who told me that states want to take care of their own. I also talked to someone who said the people in the cities and towns would never vote to approve waiving the two years. There was also concern voiced about survivors and disabled veterans coming here in droves holding flags and needing care. According to Zillow.com, the median house price is $407,000 in Massachusetts, and one of the reasons that disabled veterans and survivors won’t flock to the commonwealth simply for the tax benefit. People come here because they have a reason to, not because the benefits will outweigh the cost of living. In order to live here, some need those benefits. When a family member is killed in action, the country is generous to the families as far as I know personally, but the income they receive is the same no matter what state they live in. I can tell you firsthand, it doesn’t go as far up here. Massachusetts is a little pricey, so I’m sure the offset takes the edge off.
What else helps is the support the boys and I have been receiving. We feel the love and shared frustration. Because of the messages and well wishes, I feel more confident to move forward for the rest that will have to deal with disappointing denial letters. I’m trying to respond to everyone, but I feel like some are getting lost in space and I’ve never been known for my computer skills. I even welcome the messages and comments against my fight for the future veterans and survivors, because their information helps better my knowledge.
I believe that together we can try our hardest to peacefully change or clarify the laws to make our disabled veterans and Gold Star families feel a little more relaxed and wrapped up in the town’s arms. All I want is for the people in each municipality in Massachusetts to have the ability to vote to waive the two-year waiting period. Let the citizens decide.
More than anything right now, though, I thank you all.