Gov. Rick Scott scheduled a reception for veterans at the Governor's Mansion on Veterans' Day and on Tuesday at the state Capitol he'll induct the charter members of the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame. That honor was created by the 2013 Legislature, and the first six inductees include two prominent political names -- one a Republican, one a Democrat.
The late U.S. Rep. Sam Gibbons, a Tampa Democrat, will join the Veterans Hall of Fame in recognition of his service with the 101st Airborne Division at the D-Day invasion at Normandy and the Battle of the Bulge. He later served 34 years in Congress and was one of the inspirations of Tom Brokaw's book, The Greatest Generation.
Former two-term Comptroller Bob Milligan, a Republican from Panama City, rose to the rank of Lieutenant General in the Marine Corps and retired in 1991. Milligan, a political neophyte, defeated long-time Comptroller Gerald Lewis in 1994. Voters later merged the Cabinet office with the office of treasurer and insurance commissioner to create today's post of chief financial officer.
The other inductees are retired Army Maj. Gen. John Cleland, retired Marine Corps Maj. John Haynes, long-time Navy reservist Capt. Jeanne Rubin and retired Navy Capt. Robert Silah.
The six honorees were chosen by a seven-member Veterans Hall of Fame Council. Inexplicably, not on the list of inductees is the late George "Bud" Day, a Medal of Honor winner who served five years as a prisoner of war during Vietnam and who Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. has called "my inspiration." Day was a long-time resident of Shalimar in Okaloosa County who actively supported Republican causes and candidates; he died in July at the age of 88.
-- Steve Bousquet