Details for VETERANS DAY 2018 COVER

Homelessness among American veterans
Studies show that veterans are overre­
presented in the country’s homeless popu­
lation and are more likely than non­vete­
rans to become homeless at some point
during their lifetime.
According to a study by the Department
of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD), there are about 40,000 homeless
veterans in America. Although homeless­
ness among veterans has dropped substan­
tially since 2009 (by as much as 45
percent), between 2016 and 2017 it inc­
reased for the first time since 2010.

How to talk to your kids about Veterans Day

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
and other government organizations have
worked to end veteran homelessness for
decades but still have a long way to go. If
you’re looking for a way to help, consider
volunteering or donating to a homeless
shelter in your community or a charity
that supports veterans and their families.

• Make sure they understand what a veteran
is. Explain to your children that a veteran is
anyone who’s served in the armed forces and
put themself in danger
to defend their country.
If you have friends or
family members who
are veterans, indicate
this to your children
and consider having
these individuals talk
with them about their
experiences serving.

The vast majority (91 percent) of ho­
meless veterans are men. Black veterans
have
a higher risk of becoming homeless than
white veterans.
Veterans often report finding it difficult
and disorienting to reintegrate into civi­
lian life after returning from active duty.
Many of the former servicemen and ser­
vicewomen who end up living on the
streets suffer from post­traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD) as well as other mental
illnesses like depression and anxiety.
Substance abuse problems and injuries
sustained during service are also common.
These conditions often prevent veterans
from finding or keeping profitable jobs
and affordable housing.

The centennial commemoration
of Armistice Day
This Veterans Day marks the 100th anniver­
sary of the armistice that ended World War I.
On November 11, 1918, the European Allies
signed an agreement with Germany that
ended all hostilities on the Western Front.
The agreement was signed by German and
Allied military leaders in the private train
carriage of the Supreme Allied Comman­
der Ferdinand Foch in Compiegne, France
and went into effect at 11 o’clock in the
morning — “the eleventh hour of the ele­
venth day of the eleventh month.” Although
the war didn’t offi­
cially end until the si­
gning of the Treaty of
Versailles on June 28,
1919, the armistice on
November 11 effecti­
vely brought “the Great
War” to its long­awaited
close.

War until April 1917, approximately two
million Americans served in the war and
over 116,000 Americans died in combat.
Since then, our country has been involved in
many major military conflicts around the
world and today, there are over 20.4 million
American veterans.

1. Give a veteran a ride to
a doctor’s appointment.
Many veterans who are di­
sabled or infirm struggle
with mobility issues and
may not be able to drive
themselves around. Consi­
der volunteering for the De­
partment of Veteran Affairs
Transportation Network to
drive veterans to their medi­
cal appointments.

This Veterans Day, we honor the men and
women who served our country while re­
membering the armistice that marked the
end of one of the deadliest conflicts that the
world has ever seen.

Many countries comme­
morate Armistice Day
on November 11 each
year, often marking the
occasion with a mo­
ment of silence at 11
a.m. In the U.S., we re­
cognize the date as Ve­
terans Day, a time to
honor all Americans
who once served in the
military.
While the U.S. didn’t
enter the First World

You can also encourage your lawmakers
to push for more resources for veterans,
especially when it comes to mental health
services.

Five things you can do to support veterans
If you’re looking for a mea­
ningful way to mark Veterans
Day this year, consider these
five ways to support vete­
rans in your community and
around the country.

2. Raise a service dog. Volunteer to help train a service dog to become a companion for
a veteran. Organizations like Patriot Paws raise service dogs to help veterans with
post­traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and physical disabilities.
3. Send a thank-you letter or care package. Write letters expressing your thanks to the
vets in your life. If you don’t have any veterans in your family, the organization Operation
Gratitude can help you send letters and care packages to veterans.
4. Participate in a Stand Down event. Stand Downs are events in which services are offe­
red to homeless veterans, including food, clothing, shelter, health screenings, substance
abuse treatment and veteran benefits counseling. These events typically last for one to
three days. Volunteer to help facilitate a Stand Down event in your community.
5. Donate to charities that help veterans. Your donations don’t have to be financial contri­
butions. Organizations like AMVETS and Vietnam Veterans of America will pick up your
used clothes and household items to donate or sell at discounted prices to veterans
and their families. You can even donate frequent flyer miles to the families of injured
veterans so that their loved ones can travel to be with them in military hospitals
across the country.

Veterans Day can be a difficult holiday for
children to grasp. It’s embedded with ma­
ture themes like war, sacrifice and patrio­
tism and is much more somber than occa­
sions that occur around the same time like
Halloween and Thanksgiving. Nevertheless,
it’s good for children to understand the si­
gnificance of Veterans Day from a young
age so they don’t come to see it as just ano­
ther day off from school. Here are some tips
for talking to children about Veterans Day.

‘The Poppy Lady’: the woman behind
the Veterans Day symbol

brate veterans with parades and other tri­
butes on this day.
• Ask them to choose a way to celebrate
Veterans Day. Suggest some ways that
you can honor vets as a family this Ve­
terans Day; for instance, by attending a
parade, making thank­you cards and care
packages or volunteering in a local vete­
rans home or hospital. Ask your kids to
choose what activity you do and explain
why they think it’s the best way to sup­
port veterans. After you get home, discuss
the experience and what you learned as
a family.

• Explain the meaning of Veterans Day.
Tell your kids that
Veterans Day is a time
reserved for thanking
all the veterans in our
families and commu­
nities for risking their
lives to protect us.
That’s why we cele­

Four questions about Veterans Day answered

This year, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs official Vete­
rans Day poster commemorates the centennial of the armistice
that ended World War I and prominently features one of the war’s
most famous symbols: the blood­red poppy.
The association of the poppy with World War I comes from Cana­
dian John McCrae’s famous poem, “In Flanders Fields,” which
describes poppies growing over makeshift graves on the battle­
fields of war-torn Belgium. However, many people don’t realize
that without the efforts of American professor, Moina Michael, the poppy wouldn’t
have become the well­known symbol honoring war veterans that it is today.
Michael first read McCrae’s poem only days before the armistice on November 11,
1918. She was especially moved by the poem’s final lines: “If ye break faith with us
who die / We shall not sleep, though poppies grow / In Flanders fields.” Determined
not to “break faith” with the soldiers who lost their lives, Michael made a vow to wear
a red poppy year­round to commemorate the war and honor those who served.
After the war, Michael started teaching classes for disabled veterans and soon realized
that many former servicemen were in need of financial support and employment op­
portunities. She began a letter-writing campaign advocating that artificial poppies be
sold and distributed to raise funds for veterans. Making poppies also provided work
to veterans with disabilities hindering them from finding jobs.
Because of her work on behalf of veterans, Michael became a national hero affectio­
nately known as “The Poppy Lady.” Her efforts led the American Legion to adopt the
poppy as its memorial symbol. Today, the poppy is internationally
recognized as a symbol of World War I remembrance
and serves as a tribute to war veterans.

In honor of Veterans Day 2018 (the cen­
tennial of Armistice Day), we answer four
common questions about the holiday.
1. When is Veterans Day obserVeD?
Veterans Day is always observed November
11, a date that commemorates the peace
agreement signed on November 11, 1918
that brought an end to the fighting during
World War I. Since Veterans Day falls on a
Sunday this year, some federal government
offices, schools and businesses may be
closed on Monday, November 12 in obser­
vance of the holiday.
2. hoW is Veterans Day Different
from memorial Day?
Memorial Day, celebra­
ted each year on the last
Monday in May, is a day
to remember those who
lost their lives while ser­
ving in the U.S. military.
Veterans Day is intended
to honor all Americans,
living and dead, who’ve
been in the armed forces.
It’s a time to thank the
veterans in our commu­
nities as well as the men
and women who are cur­
rently
serving
our
country.
3. is Veterans Day celebrateD in other countries?
In countries like Canada,
the UK, France and Aus­

tralia, November 11 is a day to remember
the armistice that ended World War I and
those who fought in their countries’ armed
forces. In these countries, however, the
focus is on remembering those who sacri­
ficed their lives rather than honoring living
veterans.
4. Which spelling is correct: Veterans Day,
Veteran’s Day or Veterans’Day?
Although Veteran’s Day and Veterans’ Day
are commonly used, the correct spelling is
Veterans Day. According to the U.S. Depart­
ment of Veterans Affairs website, the pos­
sessive form is incorrect “because it is not a
day that ‘belongs’ to veterans, it is a day for
honoring all veterans.”

How to show appreciation for military personnel
Military personnel are unsung heroes whose sacrifices for their country make it
possible for hundreds of millions of people to enjoy freedoms that many people
across the globe do not have. In recognition of those sacrifices, many people want
to show their appreciation to both active and retired servicemen and women.
Fortunately, there are many ways to do just that.
¥ Pitch in at home. According to the United States Department of Defense, the
United States military currently deploys active duty personnel in nearly 150
countries. Many of those troops are separated from their families for months at a
time, and that separation can make things difficult for their loved ones back home.
If a neighborÕs spouse is deployed overseas, offer to help around the house. Whe­
ther itÕs mowing their lawn, dropping their kids off at school or inviting the whole
family over for dinner one night each week, such gestures can go a long way to­
ward easing the burden faced by spouses of deployed military personnel.
¥ Send gifts to active personnel. Servicemen and women on active duty do not
enjoy many of the luxuries that tend to be taken for granted back home. But men
and women who want to show their appreciation can send care packages to active
personnel serving overseas. An organization such as Operation Gratitude (opera­
tiongratitude.com), which to date has sent nearly 1.3 million care packages to ac­
tive personnel, sends care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, personal
hygiene products and handmade items. This provides active personnel a taste of
home while also letting them know their extraordinary efforts are appreciated and
not forgotten.

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¥ Volunteer at a veterans hospital. Unfortunately, many servicemen and women
return home from their deployments with injuries or health conditions that re­
quire long-term care. By volunteering at veteran hospitals, men and women can
help veterans overcome their injuries and provide much­needed help to staff at
hospitals that could use a helping hand. Visit volunteer.va.gov for more infor­
mation.
¥ Make a financial donation. For those who want to support servicemen and
women but donÕt have much free time to do so, financial donations can go a
long way toward improving the quality of life of active and retired military
personnel. Many programs work with veterans to improve their quality of life,
and such organizations rely heavily on financial donations to make their mis­
sions a reality. The Wounded Warrior Project (woundedwarriorproject.org), for
example, works to honor and empower servicemen and women who incurred
physical or mental injuries or illnesses on or after September 11, 2001. The or­
ganization relies on the generosity of individuals who want to help wounded
military personnel overcome their injuries and illnesses. Based on audited fi­
nancial statements of the 2014 fiscal ending on September 30, 2014, 80.6
percent of total expenditures went to services and programs catering to woun­
ded military personnel and their families, assuring prospective donors that their
donations will go toward helping those in need.
There are many ways that civilians can express their gratitude to active and reti­
red military personnel.

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Thank You Veterans!

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