FROM THE GLOBAL VETERANS AND MILITARY FAMILIES NEWSLETTER:
“The gun lobby’s interpretation of the Second Amendment is one of the greatest pieces of fraud, I repeat the word fraud, on the American people by special interest groups that I have seen in my lifetime.”
— Warren Burger, Chief Justice of Supreme Court (1969-1986) PBS News in 1991
JULY EDITOR’S MESSAGE —
Greetings! As we went to press, two landmark rulings came down that are causing a furor—A law that limited who can get a permit to carry a gun in public in NY was overturned and the right for women to make decisions about their personal health care with the overturn of Roe v. Wadeending the right to legal abortions.
I hope everyone is listening and will act! We must not allow the radical element of our population to make decisions that affect all of us. They will not stop with banning legal abortions. They will march forward to take away same sex marriages and the right to privacy and who knows what else! Their desires know no bounds. It is interesting that Justice Thomas left one item, interracial marriage, off his hit list.
How do we stop this rampage on our rights? We VOTE and get all our acquaintances to vote! That is where the power is!
We recently celebrated the 247th birthday of the U.S. Army, our nation’s first militia. Recently militia has become a very hot word since the Second Amendment of the Constitution declares “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Why would anyone think that the word “Militia” refers to individual citizens? Chief Justice Burger stated “The very language of the Second Amendment refutes any argument that it was intended to guarantee every citizen an unfettered right to any kind of weapon he or she desires.” (Associated Press, Bill of Rights article, 1991)
Justice Burger continued that “The real purpose of the Second Amendment was to ensure that state armies, the militia, would be maintained for the defense of the state.”
Do you wonder how many people clinging to the Second Amendment have done any military service? Visualizing the U.S. Army as a militia puts the definition of this word into perspective. Hiding behind the Constitution to advance personal agendas is unacceptable.
In a Huffpost article by Amanda Terkel the title says it all: You're 18. You Can't Rent A Car, Hit The Club Or Buy Cigarettes — But You Can Get An AR-15. Besides the items mentioned, you can’t buy alcohol, and can’t gamble, but you can buy an assault weapon.
Why should people-young, old, middle age-have to fear leaving the house to go to church, go shopping, go to school or just go out for a walk? The certain sages of the Supreme Court however voted to overturn the NY law that limited possession of firearms in NY with Justice Clarence Thomas stating "New York’s proper-cause requirement violates the Fourteenth Amendment by preventing law-abiding citizens with ordinary self-defense needs from exercising their right to keep and bear arms in public." Carrying a gun should not be a necessity. There is no need for anyone to possess an assault weapon or any kind of military equipment.
We have made some progress with a bi-partisan Gun Safety bill (Bipartisan Safer Communities Act) that President Biden signed into law on June 25th but this is just a first step. Ask yourself why every single U.S. Senator is not on board with keeping our citizens safe from guns. How can this attitude be justified?
The questions to be answered: Is it time to take another lawsuit to the Supreme Court and make sure the 2nd Amendment is interpreted correctly? Is it also time to end lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court? With the Supreme Court ruling that Maine’s tuition assistance program must cover religious schools this could be considered three strikes.
The Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791. The Constitution should be a living document that is updated sensibly—of course we need the majority to make sure changes are sensible! How do we make sure we have the majority? We get out the vote! We can no longer allow the radical element of the population to set the rules and terrorize everyone. Politicians must listen to their constituents.
Take a few moments to look over this information from the BBC News on America's gun culture - in seven charts. What can you do? As always, contact your U.S. Senators and everyone else you can think of including governors. You also could combine forces with Students Demand Actionand Moms Demand Action. Help people register to vote, especially those who have just turned 18 or will be 18 for the 2022 election.
“We need to restore the protections of Roe as law of the land. We need to elect officials who will do that. This fall, Roe is on the ballot. Personal freedoms are on the ballot. The right to privacy, liberty, equality, they’re all on the ballot.” — President Joe Biden
This is a tremendous challenge but we can succeed!
Terese Sarno, Editor
Please join our caucus to show your support of the U.S. military!
LUXEMBOURG AMERICAN CEMETERY MEMORIAL DAY 2022
The DA Germany Veterans and Military Families Caucus continued the tradition of attending the Memorial Day Ceremony at Luxembourg American Cemetery. DA Germany Kaiserslautern members joined DA Luxembourg members for a moving ceremony where the Kaiserslautern Military Community was well represented with the Flyover by the 37th Airlift Squadron, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band, 786th Force Support Squadron Firing Detail, and the 786th Force Support Squadron Honor Guard, all from Ramstein.
Luxembourg Burials: 5070 Missing in Action: 3
Second row right: U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg Thomas Barrett and Mrs. Barrett
June 2022 Events
JUNE IS PTSD AWARENESS MONTH
June 1 - Don’t Give Up The Ship Day Here
June 4 - VMF Caucus meeting 12:01 am (midnight) EDT. All DA members are welcome. Password is dems. Link.
June 6 - Anniversary of the WWII Allied Invasion, known as D-Day (1944). Click here.
June 14 - Flag Day: A day to commemorate the adoption of the US flag. John Philip Sousa's march, The Stars and Stripes Forever, is performed by the US Marine Band. Click here.
June 14 - Army Birthday: On June 14, 1775, Congress established the Continental Army, known today as the U.S. Army. For more, go here.
June 17 - Bunker Hill Day, part of the Siege of Boston during the American Revolutionary War, marks the anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill. For more, go here.
June 19 - Juneteenth: The Emancipation Proclamation freed all slaves in the United States on January 1, 1863. Now, this is a federal holiday recognizing the end of slavery. Click here.
June 20 - Father's Day
June 23 - Coast Guard Auxiliary Birthday: The Auxiliary, an all-volunteer organization, is a support arm of the Coast Guard. For more, click here.
June 25 - Anniversary of the 1950 invasion of South Korea, when the North Korean People's Army crossed the 38th Parallel with 135,000 men. Click here for more details.
June 27 - National PTSD Awareness Day: PTSD resources: Click here for more details, and here Insights in caring for families coping with PTSD. Self Screening details here.
Read Beyond the Beaten Path
Read Beyond the Beaten Path is the theme for the DoD-MWR Libraries 2022 summer reading program. https://www.ila.org/dodsummerreading
To register for summer reading, go here https://www.beanstack.com/dod and search for the link to your installation library.
Blue Star Museum offer!
Going back to the U.S. this summer? Take advantage of the Blue Star Museum offer! The Arts are for everyone! https://youtu.be/bOgsiofqdsw
Blue Star Museums will again offer free admission to our nation’s active duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve, all summer from May 21 through Labor Day, September 5.
Participating museums: https://www.arts.gov/blue-star-museum-map
Seventh Annual National Caregivers Convening
On Wednesday, May 18th, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. EST, VA, in collaboration with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation (EDF), will host the Seventh Annual National Caregiver Convening. This partnership with EDF reflects VA’s beliefs that caregivers are essential to Veterans’ care and that caregivers have earned our nation’s gratitude and support.
We are proud to join EDF at this year’s event as we continue to put caregivers front and center by giving them the recognition and attention they so rightfully deserve.
This year’s convening, titled Bold Steps for the Future: Action, Policy, & Priorities, will lay out steps for the future of caregiving, address policy, and establish priorities through which we can create a better environment for caregivers and Veterans alike. The Convening will feature speakers from EDF, VA, other experts, caregivers, and keynote remarks.
Remarks will be given by Senator Elizabeth Dole and Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Donald Remy. Learn more: 7th Annual National Caregiver Convening
- Steve Schwab, CEO, Elizabeth Dole Foundation
- Kim Mingo, VP Government Sales and Business Strategy, Philips
State of the Caregiver ConversationSteve Schwab, CEO, The Elizabeth Dole Foundation, Moderator
- The Honorable Donald M. Remy, Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Meg Kabat, Senior Advisor for Families, Caregivers, and Survivors, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
A Message from General Mike Linnington, CEO, Wounded Warrior Project
Understanding the Experiences and Challenges of America’s Military and Veteran Caregiver Survivors
- Melissa Comeau, Director of the American Red Cross Military and Veteran Caregiver Network (MVCN) Red Cross
Panel: Support in the Journey from Caregiver to Survivor – A Roadmap for the Future
- Bonnie Caroll, President and Founder, TAPS
- Ann Duff, Director, Office of Survivor Assistance, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Chad Maxey, Chaplain Program Manager for Family Care and Bereavement, Office of Chaplain Services, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Laura Taylor, National Program Manager for Advance Care Planning via Group Visits, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Qwynn Galloway-Salazar, Founder, In Their Honor, LLC
I Am a Caregiver
- Dole Caregiver Fellows
Special Address by Senator Elizabeth Dole
A Message from Dr. Kevin Vigilante, Chief Medical Officer, Booz Allen Hamilton
Panel: Prioritizing Healthy Caregivers: A Vital Component of Aging in Place
- Dr. Colleen Richardson, Executive Director, Caregiver Support Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Daniel Schoeps, Director, Purchased Long-Term Care Policy Group in the Office of Geriatrics & Extended Care, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Prince Taylor, Deputy Director, Center for Development and Civic Engagement, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
- Bob Stephen, Vice President, Caregiving and Health Programs, AARP
- Angelena Taylor, 2021 Michigan Dole Caregiver Fellow
- Leah Christensen, National Program Manager, Caregiver Support Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
A Message from Jo Ann Jenkins, AARP
Campaign for Inclusive Care Presentation and Champion Awards Announcement
Visit www.caregiver.va.gov or connect with the Caregiver Support Program team at
your local VA facility to learn about the support that is available to you.
Watchdog Alert Handbook
Protect the benefits you've earned. Learn how to spot, avoid, and report evolving scams with the Watchdog Alert Handbook: Veterans Edition: https://www.aarp.org/.../watchdog-alert-fraud-handbook...
Veterans Benefits Updates
Click the following link to go to the webpage on VMF Health: here. To find out if you are eligible for VA health care as a veteran, click here.
Here are two links to VAntage Point, an official website of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Here and here. And you can click here for 5 ways to access VA care virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic @ VAntage Point. There is also a mobile app that offers Veterans convenient access to VA health and benefits; to access it, click here.
Changes to Earned Income Tax Credit
This year’s tax law changes in qualifications for the Earned Income Tax Credit could lessen your tax burden or increase your refund, especially if you are a service member with children thanks to two major child tax credits. To access information, click here.
Transitioning and Jobs
Click the following link for the webpage on Transitioning and Veterans Jobs: here.
Help Us Spread the Word
Encourage Veterans and their families residing abroad to join our Caucus and get news tailored for them! They can subscribe here.
Veterans residing abroad can also subscribe to the US Department of Veterans Affairs newsletter, “Veterans Abroad” to receive bulletins and information specific to Veterans residing abroad. You can subscribe here.
Veterans Crisis Line (VCL)
Toll-free confidential support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year through the Military Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255 and Press 1), and online chat and text (838255). Veterans, Service members or their loved ones can reach VCL from Europe (00800 1273 8255 or DSN 118 (toll-free service may not be available through all carriers or in all countries) and Korea (0808 555 118 or DSN 118).
Update: Overseas Military Service Coordinators
Due to COVID, Overseas Military Service Coordinators (OMSCs) will be extending virtual support operations to overseas Veterans, Service members, and their dependents through October 1, 2022. OMSCs will be responding to emails and arranging phone calls for those seeking assistance with all VA benefits. Simply send your contact information to the email address listed for your location to set up a virtual meeting with an OMSC:
For veterans residing in European countries, email: [email protected]
For veterans residing in Asian countries, email: [email protected]
Free Things For Veterans—all year round! For the 31 Best Free Products and Services for Veterans, click here. For info on free checked bags for flights, listen to this: Many of the major airlines are taking care of our veterans by offering free checked bags, even up to 100 pounds, or for personal travel. Delta Airlines, for example, allows vets to check up to five bags, up to 100 pounds each, on military travel. To get a breakdown of what each airline provides, you can read more here.
Military Spouse Scholarship: To access information on the National Military Family Association’s scholarship program, along with FAQS + eligibility details, click here.
The Journey of the Military Child: The MCEC (Military Child Education Coalition) will continue to serve military-connected students with their 24th annual signature event. They will welcome in-person attendees to Washington, DC for a refreshed, reinvigorated, and revitalized professional learning event, the 2022 MCEC Global Summit. It will focus on supporting and nurturing all areas of development and learning while incorporating a broader view of the skills and knowledge military-connected children need for long-term success. The Global Summit will be July 18-20 at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Washington, DC. For information, click here.
The Posse Veterans Program: The Posse Veterans Program identifies, trains, and supports groups of ten veterans (in a cohort or “posse”) who will pursue their bachelor's degrees together. Learn how the Posse Program identifies post-9/11 Veterans for its program, how Posse’s partner colleges select Veterans for the program and guarantee that tuition is covered for all four years, and how Posse’s 200+ Corporate partners support Posse alumni. Nominations will remain open through September 15, 2022 for the 2023 Scholarship Cohort. For more information go here or here.
SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITIES
On April 26, VA announced the addition of nine rare respiratory cancers <https://blogs.va.gov/VAntage/?s=cancer > to the list of presumed service-connected disabilities due to exposure to fine particulate matter for Veterans who served any amount of time in
* Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria or Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present, or
* The Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present.
VA is taking a new approach to making decisions on presumptives, one that takes all available science into account, with one goal in mind - getting today's Veterans, and Vets in the decades ahead - the benefits they deserve, as fast as possible.
VA identified, through a focused review of scientific and medical evidence, a biological plausibility between airborne hazards, specifically particulate matter, and carcinogensis of the respiratory tract; the unique circumstances of these rare cancers warrant a presumption of service connection.
Veterans and survivors who had claims previously denied for any of the below respiratory cancers are encouraged to file a supplemental claim.<https://www.va.gov/decision-reviews/supplemental-claim/ > for benefits;
* Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx;
* Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea;
* Adenocarcinoma of the trachea;
* Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea;
* Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung;
* Large cell carcinoma of the lung;
* Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung;
* Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung and;
* Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung.
VA will contact impacted Veterans and survivors to inform them about their eligibility and it will provide information on how to apply.
To apply for benefits, Veterans and survivors may visit https://www.va.gov//
DAG VMF May Events
MAY is National Military Appreciation Month and Month of the Military Caregiver
May 1 Loyalty Day, Silver Star Service Banner Day
May 3 “Giving Tuesday” To donate to a veteran or military charity, you can click here.
May 5 National Day of Prayer
May 6 Military Spouse Appreciation Day
May 7 VMF Meeting (All DA Members are welcome.)
May 8 Victory in Europe Day (VE Day)
May 8 Mother’s Day
May 13 Children of Fallen Patriots Day
May 15 Peace Officers Memorial Day
May 21 Armed Forces Day
May 22 National Maritime Day
May 28 Luxembourg American Cemetery Memorial Day Commemoration
(Please join us for the wreath laying ceremony.)
May 30 Memorial DayThe Germany VMF Caucus and DA Luxembourg will again lay wreaths at the Luxembourg American Cemetery on May 28th at the Memorial Day Commemoration Event. We hope you will join us!Please contact us for details: [email protected]Please join our caucus to show your support of the U.S. military! https://www.democratsabroad.org/vmf_signup
Last year the DA Germany Veterans and Military Families (VMF Caucus) and DA Luxembourg honored SSgt. George Peddle, from the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops, aka Ghost Army, buried at the Luxembourg American Cemetery. At that time efforts were underway to convince Congress to award a Congressional Gold Medal to SSgt. Peddle and the other soldiers of The Ghost Army. We are happy to announce that the bill finally passed in the Senate and President Biden signed S.1404 the Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act into law on February 1, 2022.
Sonnet for Memorial Day
by Nancy Harb Almendras
“Sweet and fitting to die for one’s country,”
Says Horace, ironically echoed
By Owen, who so much did disagree.
Even Ernest Hemingway plainly showed
Futility of war and its great toll
Gathered in Flanders Fields where many lay.
Remarque’s teacher his students did cajole
To take up duty, arms, instead of play.
Dulce et decorum est, pro patria
Mori; as if we’ve learned nothing yet
Denizens repeat the old, old story…
As widows cry we express regret
As once again on Memorial Day
We come around to barbecue and pray.