Utah’s veterans may soon be eligible to receive personalized license plates as a way for the state to honor them as local heroes.
The Veterans and Military Affairs Commission, meeting in November, unanimously voted to support SB35, sponsored by Sen. Peter C. Knudson, R-Brigham City. Commissioners supported the personalized license plate displaying campaigns, awards, and highlights of veteran’s service.
“We need to recognize them,” Knudson said in a telephone interview. “After the sacrificed they’e made for us, some of them literally sacrificing their lives, we all felt strongly it’s the least we could do.”
If the bill passes, it would not change the “Utah Honors Veterans” license plates already being distributed. The personalized plates would allow additional decals to become available for Utah combat veterans and their families, regardless of their disability status.
“Veterans are not people who are after recognition.” Knudson said. “This is a very low-key recognition throughout our communities to remember their service.”
These personalized license plates could include military decals from World War II through current campaigns, as well as combat infantry badges, combat action badges, combat action ribbons and other U. S. Department of Defense awards.
Afghanistan Veteran and BYU Police Officer Jeff Long said, “A lot of veterans walk among us everyday and we don’t even know it. . . How cool would it be to recognize those in our community who have served that wouldn’t necessarily be noticed?”
The bill delegates authority to the Utah Veteran and Military Affairs Department in hopes of keeping additional burdens off the driver’s license division. Department personnel would verify which applicants qualify for personalized campaign/combat license plates. On request, the department would also have responsibility to award specialized group license plates.
Even upon the death of the veteran, the surviving spouse can continue to register the personalized plate for as long as the spouse remains unmarried.
Thelma Anderson, the spouse of a Murray World War II veteran said, “I think the license plates are a good idea. My husband hasn’t been out of the house for so long, so I don’t think it would make a difference to him, but I guess it would show the pride and gratitude of our whole family.”
Group license plates would continue to be available for survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, former prisoners of wars, recipients of a Purple Heart, disabled veterans and recipients of a Gold Star Award.