Jun 07

VFW Washington Weekly – June 7, 2010

In This Issue:
1. VFW Victorious in Protecting DOD, VA Healthcare Programs
2. VA Creates Homeless Vet Hotline
3. Help VFW Win a $250,000 Grant
4. Afghanistan Now America's Longest War
5. Defense Budget Update
6. Vietnam MIA Identified
 
1. VFW Victorious in Protecting DOD, VA Healthcare Programs: The president's signature last week on H.R. 5014 ended a two-month battle that only the VFW waged to ensure all DOD and VA healthcare programs for all beneficiaries were recognized as meeting minimum essential coverage standards under the new national healthcare law.  H.R. 5014 recognizes all VA healthcare programs provided to more than 8 million beneficiaries.  H.R. 4887, signed into law April 26, recognizes all military Tricare and nonappropriated-fund healthcare programs for more than 9 million beneficiaries.  The battle began when House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) revealed just days before a full House vote that national healthcare legislation only recognized Tricare for Life as meeting standards, and excluded a half dozen other Tricare programs, as well as the NAF healthcare plan.  A closer review of the 2,400-page document revealed that not all VA healthcare programs were recognized either, to include those provided to widows and dependent children.  Whereas many in Washington chose to believe that the intent of the new law would not impact DOD or VA programs, the VFW knew differently, because bill language becomes the law of the land, and because the intent of the 111th Congress will carry little weight in the 125th Congress, when the nation's focus has moved on to other priorities.  The new national healthcare law had to be fixed, not for what it provided, but for what it omitted, and "The VFW is proud to have taken the lead on this issue on behalf of all of America's veterans, servicemembers and their families," said VFW National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell Sr.  "It's a prime example of what we do as advocates here in the Nation's Capitol."  To read the VFW press release, go to http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=5498.

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-june-7-2010/

May 31

Meaning of Memorial Day

A message from VFW National Commander Tradewell…

It's a sacred day to all war veterans: None need to be reminded of the reason that Memorial Day must be commemorated. But what about the general public, and more important, future generations? Do most non-veterans really recognize the importance of the day honoring their fellow Americans killed in war?

Judging from what Memorial Day has become-simply another day off from work-the answer is a resounding no. Perhaps a reminder is due, then. And it is the duty of each and every veteran to relay the message.

Sacrifice is meaningless without remembrance. America's collective consciousness demands that all citizens recall and be aware of the deaths of their fellow countrymen during wartime.

Far too often, the nation as a whole takes for granted the freedoms all Americans enjoy. Those freedoms were paid for with the lives of others few of us actually knew. That's why they are all collectively remembered on one special day.

This should be regarded as a civic obligation. For this is a national debt that can only be truly repaid by individual Americans. By honoring the nation's war dead, we preserve their memory and thus their service and sacrifice in the memories of future generations.

They came from all walks of life and regions of the country. But they all had one thing in common—love of and loyalty to country. This bond cemented ties between them in times of trials, allowing a diverse lot of Americans to achieve monumental ends.

We remember the loss of loved ones, a sense of loss that takes group form. In essence, America is commemorating those who made the greatest sacrifice possible—giving one's own life on behalf of others.

Means of paying tribute vary. Pausing for a few moments of personal silence is available to everyone.

Attending commemorative ceremonies is the most visible way of demonstrating remembrance: Placing flags at gravesites, marching in parades, sponsoring patriotic programs, dedicating memorials and wearing Buddy Poppies are examples.

Whether done individually or collectively, it is the thought that counts. Personal as well as public acts of remembering are the ideal. Public displays of patriotism are essential if the notion of remembering war dead is to be instilled in youth.

As America's older war veterans fast disappear from society's landscape, there are fewer and fewer standard-bearers left to carry the torch of remembrance. Such traditions will live on only if there is a vibrant movement to which that torch can be passed.

Now, more than in past years, the enduring relevance of Memorial Day should be clearly evident. With two wars under way, the public has no excuse not to remember.

This much is owed to the more than 5,400 Americans who have died thus far in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/meaning-of-memorial-day/

May 12

Mojave War Memorial Cross Stolen; Reward Offered

Watch the latest news video at <a href="http://video.foxnews.com/" _fcksavedurl="http://video.foxnews.com/">video.foxnews.com</a>

VFW Press Release:

WASHINGTON, May 11, 2010 – The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. learned yesterday that the cross-shaped veterans' memorial in the Mojave Desert was torn down Sunday night by someone or persons with no respect for the dead or the nation's laws.

"This was a legal fight that a vandal just made personal to 50 million veterans, military personnel and their families," said VFW National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell, Sr. "To think anyone can rationalize the desecration of a war memorial is sickening, and for them to believe they won't be apprehended is very naive.

"The memorial will be rebuilt and the vandals will be caught and prosecuted in federal court, since the crime occurred on government property," said Tradewell, a combat-wounded Vietnam veteran from Sussex, Wis. "We hope this horrible act will highlight the importance of resolving this case quickly so that the memorial and land can be transferred to the VFW so that the service and sacrifice of all American war dead will be properly recognized and honored, as originally intended by a group of World War I VFW members 76 years ago."

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/mojave-war-memorial-cross-stolen-reward-offered/

May 05

VA Simplifies Online Application

WASHINGTON (May 5, 2010) – Veterans will find it easier and faster to apply for their health care benefits now that the Department of Veterans Affairs has updated its online Form 10-10EZ, "Application for Health Benefits."

"VA is committed to tapping into the best that technology has to offer to ensure Veterans receive the benefits they have earned," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "We continue to look for new ways to improve access to care and benefits."

This revised online application provides enhanced navigation features that make it easier and faster for Veterans to apply for their health care benefits.  This new version also allows Veterans to save a copy of the completed form for their personal records.

The most significant enhancement allows Veterans to save their application to their local desktop and return to the application at any time without having to start over.  Previously, Veterans had to complete the form in a single session.

This updated online form, along with the revised VA Form 10-10EZ, reduces the collection of information from Veterans by eliminating some questions.

In addition, there are minor changes to simplify the wording of questions and provide clarity in the instructions.  Further enhancements to the online application are expected to be delivered in increments throughout 2010. 

Veterans may complete or download the 10-10EZ form at the VA health eligibility website at https://www.1010ez.med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez .  Veterans may also contact VA at 1 (877) 222-8387 (VETS) or visit the VA health eligibility website at www.va.gov/healtheligibility.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/va-simplifies-online-application/

May 05

President Obama Signs Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010

View the document below for details of the Act:

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/president-obama-signs-caregivers-and-veterans-omnibus-health-services-act-of-2010/

May 03

VFW Washington Weekly – April 30, 2010

In This Issue:
1. President Signs TRICARE Protections
2. Mojave Desert Memorial Update
3. House VA Committee Hearings
4. Assistance Dog Benefits Clarified
5. Eight WWII MIAs Identified
 
1. President Signs TRICARE Protections: The President signed into law this week H.R. 4887 (P.L. 111-159) to recognize all Defense Department TRICARE and nonappropriated fund healthcare programs as meeting minimum essential coverage standards under the new national healthcare law.  VFW National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell Sr. thanked the President and Congress for protecting the healthcare programs of more than 9 million beneficiaries, but said "Getting H.R. 4887 signed into law is just half the fight.  Now we need the House to pass the legislation so that all VA care provided to eligible veterans, widows and children will also be recognized and protected."  The VFW asks you to take Action today by contacting your legislators on this critical issue.  To send a message to your legislators, go to http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=14936976.  For the VFW press release, go to http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=5452.
 
2. Mojave Desert Memorial Update: After seven months of deliberation, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a lower court ruling to tear down a cross-shaped veterans memorial in the middle of the Mojave Desert that VFW members built in 1934 to honor the fallen of World War I.  But there's still work to be done, according to VFW National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell Sr.  "Their ruling was a strong step forward, but the 5-4 split decision only protects the memorial today and doesn't yet allow the congressional approved land transfer to occur or remove the plywood box that currently encases it," he said.  The Supreme Court decision sends the case back to the lower court.  To read the VFW press release, go to http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=5457.  To read the ruling and justices' opinions, go to http://www.supremecourt.gov/.  The case is Salazar v. Buono.

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-april-30-2010/

May 03

New Scholarship for the Children of Fallen Service Members

WASHINGTON – The children of military personnel who died in the line of duty since Sept. 11, 2001 can apply for an educational scholarship similar to the new Post-9/11 GI Bill.  Benefits are retroactive to Aug. 1, 2009.

The scholarship, which is administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs, are named after Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry, 28, a Texas native who died in Iraq in 2006 while disarming an explosive.  He was survived by three young children.

“The Fry scholarship represents this nation’s solemn commitment to care for children whose mothers and fathers paid the ultimate price for our country,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.  

VA begins accepting applications for the Fry scholarship on May 1, 2010.  For more information or assistance applying, call toll-free 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551), or visit the VA GI Bill Website at www.gibill.va.gov.

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/new-scholarship-for-the-children-of-fallen-service-members/

Apr 12

VFW Washington Weekly – April 9, 2010

In This Issue:
1. National Healthcare Update
2. VFW Urges Passage of S. 1963
3. Korean War MIA Identified
 
1. National Healthcare Update: The VFW continues to lead the fight to ensure all DOD and VA healthcare programs are recognized as meeting minimum essential coverage standards under the new national healthcare law, but we still need your help.  Congress reconvenes next week and it is imperative that they pass two bills to protect the integrity and viability of all DOD and VA healthcare programs.  VFW is asking members, families and friends to contact their elected officials and urge them to support S. 3162 and S. 3148.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives needs to support S. 3162, which was introduced by Senate VA Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) to protect VA healthcare programs. It passed the Senate unanimously on March 26.
  • The U.S. Senate needs to support S. 3148, which was introduced by Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Jim Webb (D-Va.) to protect all military Tricare programs as well as non-appropriated fund health plans. S. 3148 is a companion bill to H.R. 4887, which was introduced by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and approved March 20 by a vote of 403-0.
Tell your representatives to pass S. 3162 and your senators to pass S. 3148 when they return to Washington.  To contact them, go to http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=14894746.  A VFW press release is at http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=5425.

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-april-9-2010/

Apr 02

VFW Washington Weekly – April 1, 2010

In This Issue:
1. National Healthcare Update
2. VFW Supports Legal Aid Fund
3. Gulf War Report Released
4. Internet Crime Complaint Center
 
1. National Healthcare Update: The VFW is leading the fight to ensure all DOD and VA healthcare programs are recognized as meeting minimum essential coverage standards under the new national healthcare law, but we still need your help.  With Congress in recess for another week, the VFW is asking members, families and friends to contact their representatives and senators in their home offices and urge them to support two bills to protect the integrity and viability of all DOD and VA healthcare programs. 
  • The U.S. House of Representatives needs to support S. 3162, which was introduced by Senate VA Committee Chairman Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) to protect VA healthcare programs. It passed the Senate unanimously on March 26.
  • The U.S. Senate needs to support S. 3148, which was introduced by Senate Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Jim Webb (D-Va.) to protect all military Tricare programs as well as non-appropriated fund health plans. S. 3148 is a companion bill to H.R. 4887, which was introduced by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and approved March 20 by a vote of 403-0.
Tell your representatives to pass S. 3162 and your senators to pass S. 3148 when they return to Washington.  To contact them, go to http://capwiz.com/vfw/dbq/officials/.  A VFW press release is at http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=news.newsDtl&did=5425.

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Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-april-1-2010/

Mar 31

VFW Outraged at Court Decision, Calls for Assistance

KANSAS CITY, March 31, 2010 – The national commander of the nation's largest organization of combat veterans is furious about the recent Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Court decision ordering Albert Snyder, the father of a slain Marine to pay legal costs to the Westboro Baptist Church.

Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kan., led by Fred Phelps, has for years been taunting grieving mourners at military funerals nationwide. During the funeral of Marine Lance Corporal Matthew Snyder's funeral in 2006, the anti-gay group praised the loss of the young Marine as well as other of the nation's young servicemen and women, calling their deaths a by-product of a nation that tolerates homosexuality.

"This is a travesty at best and borders on the obscene, said VFW National Commander Thomas J. Tradewell Sr., of Sussex, Wis. "The irony in this whole situation is that the blood and sacrifice of our nation's heroes have enabled this group to spread their message of hate. Yet, they celebrate when one of America's best pays the ultimate sacrifice preserving that right of free speech," the Vietnam veteran said.

"Mr. Snyder has already confronted the difficulties of burying his Marine son and then bringing a lawsuit against this group of hate-mongers. It is absolutely wrong for the court to order him to shoulder a financial burden on top of everything else. That is why VFW national headquarters will be making a donation to the fund that has been established to assist in paying the legal costs. Additionally, I am asking that each of the more than 1.5 million members of the VFW do what they can to assist Mr. Snyder, even taking the time to offer a him note of support and encouragement."

A fund has been set up to help Mr. Snyder pay the court costs. None of the money will be for attorneys, who are graciously representing him pro bono. To contribute, go to www.matthewsnyder.org, or send a check payable to "Al Snyder Fund" to:

Barley Snyder LLC.
100 East Market Street
York, PA 17401.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-outraged-at-court-decision-calls-for-assistance/

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