By Tribune Veterans: Rosetta Miller Perry, Tribune publisher and Ms. June

Once again, Veterans Day is upon us to honor and acknowledge the sacrifices of our service men and women.  Our tributes not only show respect to those who fought stood for, and died for our civil liberties and freedoms, but also a time to consider the time,

l-r; Mrs. Rosetta Miller Perry, Navy and Ms. June, Air Force

service and sacrifices of over 18 million Veterans in the United States (according to 2017 data). 

Veterans Day is more than saying the traditional “thank you for your service.” It is more than a business offering discounts, free food and trinkets to service members, retirees, and military families on this one day of the year.  It is more than a parade.

This day formerly called Armistice Day, was proclaimed in 1919 by then President Woodrow Wilson.  The initial concept originated as a time to celebrate service members with parades, public meetings and suspension of business during the eleventh month, eleventh day at the eleventh hour.  From the Vietnam and both World Wars, to Operation DESERT SHIELD/STORM to the Iraq war, the military soldiers of yesterday, today and tomorrow are honorable citizens that have made or make the ultimate sacrifice in which many are not interested are capable.  

Veterans are filled with stress, trauma, homelessness, depression, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), disabilities, flashbacks from war, divorces, medical ailments high rates of suicide, alcohol and drug addiction and more.  Many citizens are not aware of how the Ronald Regan presidency closed Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals and cut funding for services to the Veterans.  Many citizens do not realize that when they see homeless men and women on the street ragged, weary, and hungry that they may be mentally ill Veterans with nowhere to turn but to the streets because they may be mentally incapacitated.  

There are many, many resources that can improve the quality of life for Veterans.  Every major city has an organization called Operation Stand Down available to connect service members and their families with resources, employment, and housing as they try to transition from their individual situations.  Operation Stand Down can be accessed through a Google search and the service member can find the nearest one based upon their zip code.  All services are free and the service member only need identification and a DD214.

Another valuable resource is the Disabled Veterans Association referred to as the DAV.  A majority of these offices are located inside the federal courthouse in close proximity to a VA Regional office.  This is the organization that advocates on behalf of the Veteran to help access benefits and navigate the government red tape.

The most valuable asset to Veterans is the VA Regional Office.  This is the location to file a claim for pension or disability benefits, obtain information for vocational rehabilitation funding and assistance with educational endeavors and resources and funding for home ownership. This resource can access all military files and help the Veteran obtain benefits. 

Every state has several VA hospitals that are also available to provide Veterans with medical, dental and preventative medicine health care.  This is a service that is free to Veterans.

As the hands of time turn, if you want to help a Veteran, refer them to these resources which is an even greater way to say “thank you.” 

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