Reading of The Names at The Wall

Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) is hosting the reading of the names of the 58,318 service members inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., as part of the special activities planned this week to commemorate The Wall’s 35th Anniversary. The reading of the names will take place at The Wall for 65 hours over a four-day period, beginning with an opening ceremony at 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Volunteers will read for approximately eight hours from 4 p.m. until 12 a.m. On Nov. 8-10, names will be read from 5 a.m. until 12 a.m., 19 hours daily.

Veterans Day

Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, which ended the WWI hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. Veterans Day is intended to honor and thank all military personnel, particularly living veterans, who served the United States in all wars.

VFW Calls on President to Help Blue Water Navy Veterans

During a markup on Thursday, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs discussed H.R. 299, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017, and ways to offset the more than $1 billion cost. Committee Chairman Phil Roe, R-Tenn., and Ranking Member Tim Walz, D-Minn., talked about a recommendation to round down annual cost-of-living increases to the next whole percentage point, which was rightfully dismissed because it would take from one veteran to give to another. The VFW has strongly opposed this in the past. Due to Congress’ inability to pass the Blue Water Navy Veterans Act, the VFW sees an order by the president to change regulations to include Blue Water Navy veterans under the presumptive conditions list as the best course of action to right this injustice. These are not new benefits, but a restoration of benefits taken away in 2002 after a change in regulations. VFW National Commander Keith Harman wrote to President Trump asking him to intervene.

Legislation Passed

Last week, the House advanced several pieces of legislation to improve veterans’ benefits and services. On Thursday, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passed H.R. 1133, the Veterans Transplant Coverage Act of 2017, which would authorize VA to provide all care and services needed for a veteran to receive an organ transplant from a live donor, regardless of whether the donor is eligible for VA health care or whether the health care facility is part of VA. Also passed was H.R. 1900, the Veterans Fair Debt Notice Act of 2017, which would require that VA use certified mail to send debt notices written in plain language to provide a clear explanation of why VA is alleging that the veteran owes such a debt.

POW/MIA Update

Navy Seaman 1st Class Edward F. Slapikas was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, when Japanese aircraft attacked his ship on Dec. 7, 1941. Slapikas was one of 429 crewmen killed in the attack. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all service members.

– Charles Castelluccio