On Veterans Day, Shinseki will join White House and military officials, and leaders of major Veterans organizations, at the traditional Veterans Day wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. Across the country, from the rousing notes of the “Star Spangled Banner” to the poignant bugle solo of “Taps,” Americans will celebrate U.S. Veterans with music, ceremonies and speeches. Nearly 100 VA-sponsored activities are scheduled, highlighted by Birmingham’s 63rd annual Veterans Day parade and parades in Lexington and Denver; recognition ceremonies in Anchorage, Alaska, Chillicothe, Ohio, and Tomah, Wis.; concerts in Durham, N.C., Bath, N.Y., and Tucson, Ariz.; and the third annual Veterans Run/Walk in West Haven, Conn. The oath of citizenship will be administered to 25 Veterans at the Fort Sam Houston Cemetery in Texas as they become official citizens of the nation they served.
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs the projected U.S. Veterans population is 23,067,000 with 8 percent, or 1,824,000 being females. Among our Veterans, 79.3% are white, 11.3% are black, 5.8% are Hispanic, 1.5% are Asian/Pacific Islander, 0.8% are American Indian and 1.3% are classified as “other” ethnicity. The number of Veterans with service-related disabilities is just over 3 million. And as of September 30th, there were an estimated 2,272,000 World War II Veterans still living.
Unfortunately, many of our Veterans are homeless today. The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reports that there are 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, with an additional 1.5 million at risk of being homeless. Racial and ethnic minorities represent a disproportion 56% of the homeless Veterans in the United States.
NCHV states that Veterans “need a coordinated effort that provides secure housing, nutritional meals, basic physical health care, substance abuse care and aftercare, mental health counseling, personal development and empowerment…[through] job assessment, training and placement assistance…helping them obtain and sustain employment.
There exists a need in almost every community to help our Veterans. The NCHV database provides an excellent resource for homeless Veterans, but there are many other resources – including the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the American Legion, to name a few. The VA lists accredited service organizations on its website here: http://www1.va.gov/vso/.
So on this Veterans Day, please consider donating blankets, or nonperishable food items, or unwanted clothes or anything that you think might help out a Veteran in need.
WE invites you to learn more about Veterans Day on VA's Veterans Day website at http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/ under “Regional Observances.”
The WE Movement and its HELP4U platform support this worthwhile campaign. We have joined, will you? Learn more at http://www.wemovement.org/.