On Thursday, VFW National Legislative Service Director Pat Murray testified before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on the important subjects of mental health and veteran suicide. At the hearing Murray discussed treating this critical issue differently, “It’s time we aggressively shift the focus on suicide prevention. We cannot keep trying the same solutions expecting different results.” Many of the proposals discussed in the hearing are supported by the VFW, and could potentially help decrease the number of veterans who die by suicide. The VFW is confident Congress will pass these significant veteran bills and send them to the president’s desk to become law.
Arlington National Cemetery Limited Reopening
Arlington National Cemetery has announced a limited reopening starting Wednesday, Sept. 9, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., only for grave site visitation. Face coverings will be mandatory and social distancing is expected. Other areas, including President John F. Kennedy’s grave site, Memorial Amphitheater, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, will remain closed at this time.
VA #FightFlu Initiative
VA has expanded the options eligible veterans have on where they can receive a seasonal no-cost flu shot. Veterans can now receive a standard-dose or high-dose flu shot at their local VA health care facility, in-network community retail pharmacy, or an urgent care location. If you are eligible, you only need to present a valid, government-issued ID at a covered location.
The VFW Podcast Hits Airwaves Oct. 7
In an effort to provide veterans, service members, and military families with current information on key veteran legislation, educational and financial assistance programs, national veterans services, critical initiatives from the VFW national commander-in-chief, and much more, the VFW is turning to the podcast world. We will chat with congressional leadership, Department of Veterans Affairs executives, Department of Defense senior officials, VFW leaders, and everyday veterans from around the globe about issues that matter most to you. Stay tuned as we prepare to launch the VFW Podcast the first Wednesday of October, November, and December. In 2021, the podcast will air two episodes each month, every first and third Wednesday.
National POW/MIA Recognition Day
This Friday, Sept. 18th is National POW/MIA Recognition Day. It is an observance that honors those who were prisoners of war (POW) as well as those who are still missing in action (MIA). It is observed on the third Friday in September. National POW/MIA Recognition Day was proclaimed by the United States Congress in 1998. The numbers are: WWII – 72,579; Korean War – 7,578; Vietnam War – 1,586; Cold War – 126; Gulf Wars – 6. It should be noted that 41,000 are considered to be lost at sea.
POW/ MIA Update
Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Frank L. Athon, Jr., 29, of Cincinnati, Ohio, was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio in the Tarawa Atoll of the Gilbert Islands. Athon will be buried Nov. 21, 2020, in his hometown.
Navy Shipfitter 3rd Class Patrick L. Chess, 24, of Yakima, Washington, was assigned to the battleship USS Oklahoma, which was moored at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor, when the ship was attacked by Japanese aircraft on Dec. 7, 1941. Chess will be buried Oct. 22, 2020, in his hometown.
Till next week, praying for all.
– Charles Castelluccio