Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day - A Little Info on Veterans Day in the US

When I looked out the window this morning I noticed the boy scouts had placed the US flag beside our red leaf maple, which is in full glory right now. Then I read many posts on Facebook about Veterans Day and thought just how that might apply to our family. While many of our relatives and ancestors would not meet the official designation of a veteran, they did sacrifice on our behalf. Next I turned to Wikipedia and the US Veterans Administration to better understand the formal meaning of a US Veteran. Rather than rewrite what I found, I made a sampling of the information and placed it into a format for future refereance. That is what I am sharing with you today. For more information please go to the source link.



United States Veterans
A veteran (from Latin vetus, meaning "old") is a person who has had long service or experience in a particular occupation or field; "
The most common usage is for former armed services personnel. A veteran is one who has served in the armed forces, especially one who has served in combat. It is especially applied to those who served for an entire career, usually of 20 years or more, but may be applied for someone who has only served one tour of duty. A common misconception is that only those who have served in combat or those who have retired from active duty can be called military veterans.
Each state of the United States sets specific criteria for state-specific veterans' benefits. For federal medical benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, prior to 7 September 1980 the veteran must have served at least 180 days of active duty, after the above-mentioned date, the veteran must have served at least 24 months. However, if the veteran was medically discharged and receives a VA service-connected disability stipend, the time limits are not applicable.
Women were not fully recognized as veterans until after WWII, and prior to this they were not eligible for VA benefits. The VA estimates that by the year 2010 women will make up 40% of the veteran population.

Veterans Day, formerly Armistice Day, is an annual United States holiday honoring military veterans. It is a federal holiday that is observed on November 11. It coincides with other holidays such as Armistice Day or Remembrance Day, which are celebrated in other parts of the world and also mark the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. (Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice.)

The United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for veterans of any nation in the world. This benefits system traces its roots back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims passed a law which stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony.
The Continental Congress of 1776 encouraged enlistments during the Revolutionary War by providing pensions for soldiers who were disabled. Direct medical and hospital care given to veterans in the early days of the Republic was provided by the individual States and communities. In 1811, the first domiciliary and medical facility for veterans was authorized by the Federal Government. In the 19th century, the Nation's veterans assistance program was expanded to include benefits and pensions not only for veterans, but also their widows and dependents.
After the Civil War, many State veterans homes were established. Since domiciliary care was available at all State veterans homes, incidental medical and hospital treatment was provided for all injuries and diseases, whether or not of service origin. Indigent and disabled veterans of the Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, and Mexican Border period as well as discharged regular members of the Armed Forces were cared for at these homes.
Congress established a new system of veterans benefits when the United States entered World War I in 1917. Included were programs for disability compensation, insurance for servicepersons and veterans, and vocational rehabilitation for the disabled. By the 1920s, the various benefits were administered by three different Federal agencies: the Veterans Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions of the Interior Department, and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.
The establishment of the Veterans Administration came in 1930 when Congress authorized the President to "consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans." The three component agencies became bureaus within the Veterans Administration.
The VA health care system has grown from 54 hospitals in 1930, to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 domiciliaries. VA health care facilities provide a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, and rehabilitative care. The responsibilities and benefits programs of the Veterans Administration grew enormously during the following six decades. World War II resulted in not only a vast increase in the veteran population, but also in large number of new benefits enacted by the Congress for veterans of the war. The World War II GI Bill, signed into law on June 22, 1944, is said to have had more impact on the American way of life than any law since the Homestead Act more than a century ago. Further educational assistance acts were passed for the benefit of veterans of the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam Era, Persian Gulf War, and the All-Volunteer Force.
In 1973, the Veterans Administration assumed another major responsibility when the National Cemetery System (except for Arlington National Cemetery) was transferred to the Veterans Administration from the Department of the Army. The Agency was charged with the operation of the National Cemetery System, including the marking of graves of all persons in national and State cemeteries (and the graves of veterans in private cemeteries, upon request) as well and administering the State Cemetery Grants Program.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established as a Cabinet-level position on March 15, 1989. President Bush hailed the creation of the new Department saying, "There is only one place for the veterans of America, in the Cabinet Room, at the table with the President of the United States of America."
The National Cemetery Scheduling Office has the primary responsibility for verifying eligibility for burial in VA national cemeteries.  A determination of eligibility is usually made in response to a request for burial in a VA national cemetery. 
a.  Veterans and Members of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard)
            (1)  Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies on active duty.
            (2)  Any Veteran who was discharged under conditions other than dishonorable.  With certain exceptions, service beginning after September 7, 1980, as an enlisted person, and service after October 16, 1981, as an officer, must be for a minimum of 24 continuous months or the full period for which the person was called to active duty (as in the case of a Reservist called to active duty for a limited duration).  Undesirable, bad conduct, and any other type of discharge other than honorable may or may not qualify the individual for Veterans benefits, depending upon a determination made by a VA Regional Office.  Cases presenting multiple discharges of varying character are also referred for adjudication to a VA Regional Office.
(3)       Any citizen of the United States who, during any war in which the United
States has or may be engaged, served in the Armed Forces of any Government allied with the United States during that war, whose last active service was terminated honorably by death or otherwise, and who was a citizen of the United States at the time of entry into such service and at the time of death.


National Veterans Day Ceremony
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans' organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.
The Veterans Day National Committee also selects a number of regional sites for Veterans Day observances throughout the country. From stirring parades and ceremonies to military exhibits and tributes to distinguished veterans, these events serve as models for other communities to follow in planning their own observances.
 •Presidential Proclamation
•National Ceremony Attendee Information
•Regional Observances
 •Regional Site Application
 •Veterans Day Ceremonies at VA National Cemeteries
11-11-11 http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/

What an honor to participate in activities to recognize the service of these individuals. While it may not be easy for them to access all of the benefits provided to veterans, these benefits are important to our service people. With deep appreciation for what these people have done to support our nation in activity around the world, these benefits are a minor contribution. Please reach out to veterans and realize that as they age they may have even greater need of our support and respect.

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