VMF December 2023 Newsletter


December 2023


VOL. 3, NO. 12

To view in PDF, click here

“Our fighting force is the greatest in the world — in no small part because, year after year and decade after decade, military and veteran families have had their loved ones’ backs.  As a country, we owe it to these families to have their backs. This year — as we celebrate 50 years of an all-volunteer force — may we also recognize the bravery and dedication of our military and veteran families and work to repay the debt of gratitude we owe each one of them.”           –President Joseph R. Biden

A Proclamation on National Veterans and Military Families Month

2023 | The White House

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter Passes Away at Age 96
August 18, 1927 - November 19, 2023

"Democrats Abroad mourns the loss of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter...Mrs. Carter served as an envoy abroad and a political surrogate to her husband. They co-founded The Carter Center, a nonprofit devoted to advancing human rights and alleviating human suffering. " -- –Martha McDevitt-Pugh, DA International Chair


Sign the official online condolence book       RosalynnCarterTribute.org

Editor’s Message

As we mourn the passing of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, we note her accomplishments in improving the quality of life for all Americans highlighted by her support for Women’s Rights and mental health.

Looking forward to the New Year, please consider joining our Get Out The Vote Team, so that we can continue the gains we have made in the representation of democratic principles. There are voter assistance workshops so please sign up! We need your help to get every overseas American registered to vote!  


Now, more than ever, we need to Get Out the Vote! The first thing to do in 2024 is to request your absentee ballot. Overseas U.S. citizens must request their absentee ballots every calendar year so that they can vote in all U.S. elections for which they are eligible in their home state. Make your absentee ballot request January 1st!

During the holiday season, we should also remember the valiant efforts of our military who are always there to protect our American freedoms. An interesting footnote to our military history concerns the popularity of the Donut which actually goes back to WW1 (and continued through the Vietnam War) and the role it played with our military’s as well as the Salvation Army’s efforts to keep up the morale of our troops on the front lines. It is a story that apparently is not well known but a valuable part of our country's history. Read about the Donut Dollies, who along with the Doughboys, made an enormous contribution to our troops. There will be some other links in this issue to give you more details on the valuable contributions these American women made to the war efforts and the history behind the popularity of the donut. Perhaps the donut should be our national dessert?

If you have not yet signed the Equal Rights Amendment Petition, please sign now and urge all your friends to sign! It is way past time to include women’s equality in the U.S. Constitution, so that there is a national legal standard banning sex discrimination.

Best wishes for a happy holiday season and a healthy New Year that brings us peace.

Keep hope alive!

Terese Sarno


Please join our caucus to show your support for the U.S. military!

State of the Military Voter in the 2020 Presidential Election


Federal Benefits for Veterans, Dependents, Survivors, and Caregivers 2023 Edition


Welcome to Benefits.gov  What benefits can we help you find?
5 Benefits for Veterans with Service-Connected Disabilities

Download VA Health and Benefits Mobile App

How to use cool features in VA’s official mobile app

          Mobile App Appeals  Prescriptions  Secure Messaging

DFAS Survivor Benefit Plan   Survivor SBP Newsletter  Pension Poaching Prevention

White Ribbon Pledge to end harassment   Stores that ship to an APO address   


Service Members Can Now Sign up for Tax-Free Dependent Care Spending Accounts

FACT SHEET: To Mark Veterans Day, Biden-Harris Administration Highlights Historic Care, Benefits & New Actions to Support Veterans and Their Families

DoDEA to trim special education, mainstream students with learning disabilities

Kaiserslautern JROTC’s Veterans Day march collects record amount for programs, vets

Biden says America’s veterans are ‘the steel spine of this nation’ …

Supreme Court adopts a code of ethics for the first time

Army Overturns Convictions of 110 Black Soldiers Charged in 1917 Riot

Election 2023: How Abortion Lifted Democrats, and More Key Takeaways

Why no NBA games are on Election Day on Nov. 7, 2023, explained

Stars and Stripes honored for coverage of job hurdles for military spouses in Italy

Supreme Court weighs when officials can block citizens on social media
At the Supreme Court, 'First Amendment interests all over the place'     

It's shockingly easy to buy sensitive data about US military personnel 

Veterans’ desire to serve doesn’t end with military service, advocates contend

Calendar 2023 & Events



World AIDS Day December 1

December 1 – World AIDS Day Remember and Commit

December 1 – Civil Air Patrol (USAF Auxiliary) Birthday

December 2 – International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

December 7 – Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

December 9 – DA VMF Caucus Monthly Meeting, 14:00 EST Link                                        

December 10 – Human Rights Day

December 11-12 – The Universal Declaration of Human Rights  75th Anniversary

December 12 – International Universal Health Coverage Day

December 13 – U.S. National Guard Birthday The National Guard celebrates 385 years.

“On this date in 1636, the first militia regiments in North America organized in Massachusetts. The descendants of these first regiments – the 181st Infantry, the 182nd Infantry, the 101st Field Artillery, and the 101st Engineer Battalion of the Massachusetts Army National Guard – share the distinction of being the oldest units in the U.S. military.”

December 18 – International Migrants Day

December 15 – Bill of Rights Day

December 16 – National Wreaths Across America

Wreaths across America.jpeg

December 27 – International Day of Epidemic Preparedness                               

UNITE to End Violence against Women Campaign | UN Women

Upcoming DA Activities


H.R.366 — Korean American VALOR Act  became public law 118-20, 11/13/2023
Senator introduces legislation to address deportation,challenges for immigrant veterans
House Republicans elect Mike Johnson to be House speaker: updates

The Social Security Fairness Act of 2023
H.R. 82  300 cosponsors – 201 Democrats, 99 Republicans
S. 597    49 cosponsors – 39 Democrats, 7 Republicans, 3 Independents
Take Action: Contact your Members of Congress to repeal WEP and GPO.
Spanberger, Graves Applaud Key U.S. House Committee Hearing on WEP & GPO, Call for Vote on Their Bipartisan Social Security Fairness Act

Senators ask VA to stop foreclosures on thousands of veterans 

Senators warn of Chinese effort to recruit US service members…

Senators seek over-the-counter birth control access for troops 

Provisions of the comprehensive Cleland-Dole Act

NFL Salute to Service

The NFL is expanding outside the U.S. and planning to have more games overseas which will be a great boost to the quality of life for Veterans and military families plus all the Americans who live overseas. Two home teams have been designated for Frankfurt–The Patriots and The Chiefs.  Ahead of the Colts/Patriots game in Frankfurt this season, the NFL hosted a special “tailgate” event with active duty service members at Ramstein Air Base in partnership with USO. NFL Legends and cheerleaders joined fans in the celebration of Veterans Day, ahead of the last international game of 2023.

NFL_Salute_to_Service_people_and_plane.jpeg NFL___USO_Salute_to_Service.jpeg USO___NFL_Salute_to_Service.jpeg

#SaluteToService is the league's year-round effort to honor, empower and connect with our nation's service members, veterans and their families. Each season, throughout the month of November the collective NFL family, including all 32 clubs and their players, reinforces its continued support and gratitude to those who have served  and those who continue to serve. For this season, Salute to Service was highlighted specifically in-game during Weeks 9-11 and included throughout additional special events led by the league and its clubs. Since 2011, more than $66 million has been raised for the NFL's Salute to Service partners to support and uplift our nation's military community through resources, programming, recognition and unique experiences in the United States and across the world.

Read about the 2023 Salute to Service  Award nominees presented by USAA. The Salute to Service Award recognizes NFL players, coaches, staff and alumni with proven commitment to honoring and supporting military and veteran communities, as nominated by NFL clubs.

The finalists of the award will be announced in January, and the recipient will be recognized at NFL Honors, a primetime awards special to air nationally in February during the week of Super Bowl LVIII.“Military service members, veterans and their families are unique, and so are the ways in which the nominees for this season’s Salute to Service Award show appreciation for the military community,” said Major General (Ret.) Bob Whittle, USAA Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff. “As NFL fans cast their votes, we hope the examples set by each nominee will lead to increased action by fans to honor, support and connect with all those who serve.”     

The military was featured prominently at the Frankfurt NFL games

Frankfurt_NFL_game-a.jpeg Frankfurt_NFL_game-b.jpeg Frankfurt_NFL_game.jpeg

Service Members Take Gaming to the Highest Level with the USO-NFL Salute to Service Showdown

VMF Caucus Tolls “Bells of Peace” on 11/11 at 11am 

Bell ringing and singing around the world to honor our Veterans and active duty military


Democrats_Abroad_Veterans_and_Military_Families_Caucus_with_bell.jpeg Veterans_Day_Bells_of_Peace.png DA_member_ringing_bell.jpeg Person_ringing_bell_with_outstretched_arms.jpeg


Readout of White House Meeting with Leaders of Veteran-Serving Organizations 


Served in World War II? New law says you’re eligible for VA health care

VA rolls out free healthcare for World War II veterans

One Million Strong: VA’s Million Veteran Program makes history

PTSD Bytes: Trauma in the LGBTQ+ community

VA promotes health equity through partnerships

Live Whole Health #190: Are you sitting down?

Live Whole Health #191: Apply pressure          Live Whole Health #192: Take a breath

Live Whole Health #193: You’re grounded!      Live Whole Health #194: It’s a practice

Live Whole Health #195: Do the twist!   

Live Whole Health #196: Happy, healthy, safe and peaceful 

Veterans Whole Health Education Handouts    Whole Health Videos


Federal Student Aid For Members of the U.S. Armed Forces guide

What you need to know about your federal student loan benefits

Total and Permanent Disability Discharge | Federal Student Aid

VA Education And Training Benefits

Veteran Recognition:

Green Berets bring annual tribute to JFK’s Arlington gravesite

Veteran Boosts Body and Soul

To mark a hundred years of commemoration: ABMC 56-minute documentary
"Our Promise: 100 years of the American Battle Monuments Commission."

102-year-old WW II veteran returns to homeland, visits Sicily-Rome American Cemetery

Sicily-Rome_American_Cemetary_gravestone.jpeg  Sicily-Rome_American_Cemetary_wreath.jpeg 

ABMC photos

A selection of articles about the morale building efforts of the Donut Dollies:My_Doughnut_Girl_Salvation_Army.jpeg

Doughboys and Doughnut Girls – How the Salvation Army’s WW1

Women Volunteers Made History, One Tasty Treat at a Time

The Donut Dollie Detail-Preserving and Sharing History

The Women Who Fried Donuts and Dodged Bombs on the Front Lines of WWI 

Doughnut! The Official Story     ​‘Donut Dollies’ Served U.S. Troops in Vietnam      

Click here for our Spotlight Students Sound Off About the Bill of Rights
Click here for our Podcast & Social Media Recommendations
Click here for our Poetry Corner
Click here for our Film and Book Recommendations
Click here for our Brain-Zone Quiz
Click here for our Educational Resources
Click here for our Virtual Museum


The Global VMF Caucus Steering Committee meets once a month. 

All Democrats Abroad members are welcome to attend. 

WebEx link for 9 December at 14:00 EST.


dog with suggestion box

Would you like to volunteer to Get Out The Vote?

Let us know: [email protected]

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Please join our caucus to show your support for the U.S. military!


Terese Sarno (Germany)

Veterans and Military Families Caucus Chair:

Kee Adams Evans (Guatemala)


“We must stand firm against rising intolerance and build a future of
dignity, security, justice & human rights for all."

–UN Secretary-General António Guterres

UNHCR_Human_Rights_75_Poster.jpegHuman Rights 75 Program Geneva

11-12 December 2023

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