Kaiserslautern-Saarland Region Chapter Communications Coordinator; DA Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus Steering Committee; Co-Chair, DA Germany Veterans and Military Families Caucus

  • published VMF August 2022 Spotlight in Spotlight 2022-07-26 21:58:39 -0400

    VMF August 2022 Spotlight


    Honor Flights to the District of Columbia


    Photo: Evan Youngblood

    On June 1st, the National Park Service (NPS) and the Honor Flight Network resumed escorts for Honor Flight visits. Park rangers and US Park Police officers will again greet veterans at their selected monument, facilitate parking and traffic flow and provide a ranger-led program about the memorials if requested. 

    Alice Kraatz, a Michigan teen, raised more than $140,000 for an Honor Flight  for more than 80 Vietnam veterans in June that included a ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

    Honor Flights were featured in the VMF V-E Day (May 8, 2021) webinar Volunteers Honoring Veterans in Washington, D.C., with Helen Belletti, Volunteer Coordinator. Honor Flight video 


    Read more

  • VMF Film-Book August 2022

    Film recommendations

    Wolf Hound is about a WWII German operation to repair and refurbish fallen Allied aircraft to conduct stealth combat against Allied targets. Link to the trailer. Available in Digital format or to rent on demand—Blu-ray and DVD.

    Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), classic political comedy-drama film directed by Frank Capra, starring Jean Arthur   and  James Stewart, won the Academy Award for Best Original Story and was nominated for a total of eleven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.

    “The story of one man who believed he could make a difference, and stood up to the entire United State government. A great story about how the American rule of law works and how one man can bring change to the course of human events.” Free on Internet Archive

    Best military movies



    Book recommendation

    Nelson DeMill \

    Nelson DeMille’s novel, The Charm School, will keep you wondering. What happened to the young American and the Trans Am he was driving across Russia, where are the Vietnam POWs and MIAs, is this possible? Add the CIA, KGB, and a love story, and you have a great Cold War summer read.

  • VMF August Educational Resources

    MilLife Learning Web-Based Training for Military

    Resources designed for service members, their families, survivors and those who support them—anytime, from anywhere.


  • published August Brain Zone Quiz in Brain Zone Quiz 2022-07-26 21:57:39 -0400

    August Brain Zone Quiz


    It's a Military Living

    They work with bugs, soufflés and even superheroes. … See how much you know about the jobs military members do.

    Start quiz here.

  • published August Recommendations in Postcasts & Social Media 2022-07-26 21:57:23 -0400

    August Recommendations


    VA Podcasts Network offers a diverse selection of top-quality podcasts made with a Veteran community in mind. 

    Pod Save America Former aides to President Obama cut through the noise to break down the week's news.


  • published VMF August 2022 Newsletter in News 2022-07-26 21:56:53 -0400

    VMF August 2022 Newsletter


    August 2022


    Vol. 2, No. 5

    To view in PDF, click here

    Just as we did in the presidential election of 2020, we will make sure you know who we are. If you stand against our students, we will stand against you. If you vote against our educators, we will vote against you. This November, if you get in the way of our progress toward a more just nation, we will get in the way of your election.

    Becky Pringle, National Education Association President


    Editor’s Message —

    Greetings! We have all been brought up believing that youth holds the future in their hands and that a good education is the basis for a successful democracy. The new law in Arizona that removes the bachelor's degree requirement for teachers is another step by the far right to dismantle public education. They also make it difficult for teachers to do their jobs since they are challenging many of the books used in advanced courses, especially those by authors of color. Teachers inevitably face challenges and are compelled to provide alternatives.

    That Arizona, with the lowest teacher salaries in the U.S., has thrown teaching credentials out the window is horrifying. The Network for Public Education has alerted us to what is going on! Apparently, the Governor of Arizona as well as governors of some other states have no knowledge of the teaching profession although during the pandemic, parents understood how difficult it is to be a teacher when they were in charge of home schooling their children. The Arizona Governor has no idea what it takes to be a successful teacher and he is now allowing untrained college students to teach. This mentality is emphasized by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee who allowed Larry Arnn, his key education advisor, president of Hillsdale College and its charter school chain, to say that teachers “are trained in the dumbest parts of the dumbest colleges” and that “anyone can teach.” Those anti-unionists now have the teaching profession on their hit list. (Sick of the Teachers: Time for Reform)

    Randi Weingarten, American Federation of Teachers President, commented about certification in Arizona: “It’s very dangerous. It’s a good and dangerous example of the disrespect for knowledge in this country. They would never, ever do this about airline pilots. They would never do this about engineers. They would never do this about doctors. They would never do this about lawyers. But frankly, they are fearful about teachers actually teaching critical thinking, actually having knowledge. It’s antithetical to having an educated citizenry.”

    Call To Action!

    What do we do? We contact our Governors to urge them to support high standards for our students at all levels. Only certified teachers should be entrusted with the education of our students. Stop the radical right from dismantling our public education system. Public tax money should be for public education, not charter schools or religious schools no matter what the Supreme Court has declared. Church and state should be separated. The far right does not seem to care about this part of the Constitution.

    Email and Tweet Your Governor Now! Students need quality public schools and public schools need professionally trained teachers.

    Terese Sarno, Editor


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


    Read more

  • published July Quiz in Brain Zone Quiz 2022-06-30 08:08:42 -0400

    July Quiz



    How much do you know about the United States? Click here to start.

  • VMF Film-Book July 2022

    Film recommendations

    Lincoln: The 2012 film about the 16th president, directed by Steven Spielberg, stars Daniel Day-Lewis, who won an Academy Award for his performance. Available on Amazon. PG-13

    Born On The Fourth of July: This film is based on the true story of Ron Kovic, a Marine who became paralyzed during his second tour in Vietnam. Kovic became an impassioned critic of the war and is still politically active. Available on Amazon. 1990, Rated R



    Book recommendation


    Have you been asking yourself the vitally important, and disturbing, questions: Can American democracy, as we know it today, ever work again? And, if it can, what needs to happen to assure that it can?

    This shocking, candid, personal account of the 2020 election, the pandemic, the Insurrection and the first year of the Biden presidency by two NY Times reporters exposes the deep volcanic forces within both parties. It reads like a novel with stunning, in-the-room detail. The authors break news on most every page, drawing on hundreds of interviews and never-before-seen documents and recordings. Biden & Harris, Trump, Pelosi, Schumer, the Progressive Caucus, Manchin, Sinema, McCarthy, McConnell---each is covered in depth with provocative insights. Highly recommended!

  • published July Recommendations in Postcasts & Social Media 2022-06-30 08:07:53 -0400

    July Recommendations


    American Veteran: Unforgettable Stories (American Experience|PBS) This 9-part series interviews veterans from every generation about their military experiences. (YouTube)

    No Compromise From WAMU’s Guns & America, reporters expose how three brothers from the most uncompromising corner of the gun debate are turning hot-button issues into donations and controversy. (Apple Podcasts)

    25 Most Popular Social Media Sites: Top Platforms, Networks, & Apps in 2022


  • published VMF July 2022 Newsletter in News 2022-06-30 08:01:15 -0400

    VMF July 2022 Newsletter


    July 2022


    Vol. 2, No. 4

    To view in PDF, click here

    buttons that say \

    “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

    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. Wade ending 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 Action and 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
    (Read President Biden’s entire June 24, 2022 speech.)

    This is a tremendous challenge but we can succeed!

    Get Out The Vote!

    Terese Sarno, Editor

    4th of July gif

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


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  • published VMF July 2022 Spotlight in Spotlight 2022-06-30 03:46:22 -0400

    VMF July 2022 Spotlight


    Italy, Netherlands, Luxembourg, UK, France, Belgium



    DA Italy members were present at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy, on Saturday May 28 to honor the fallen on Memorial Day. Helenka Kinnan, DA Italy Secretary and Vice Chair of the Southern Italy Chapter shared that the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery is a peaceful and moving memorial to our fallen heroes that should not be overlooked if you are visiting the Rome area. It holds a special place in her heart because she is named after the wife of her grandfather’s good friend who is memorialized in the chapel dedicated to the Missing in Action for those lost between Sicily and Nettuno-Anzio (1943-44). The theme of the ceremony was the spirit of friendship and cooperation between the United States and Italy. Ambassador Cindy McCain gave a moving tribute to the close ties between our two nations, exemplified by the Brothers in Arms statue. Click here for information about the American Battle Monuments Commission and a booklet describing the Sicily-Rome campaigns.

    Sicily-Rome Burials: 7845    Missing in Action: 3095

    Brothers in Arms statue

    Sicily-Rome_American_Cemetery_fountain.jpg Sicily-Rome_American_Cemetery.jpg



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  • VMF July Educational Resources


    Read Beyond the Beaten Path is the theme for the DoD-MWR Libraries 2022 summer reading program. To register, click here and search for the link to your installation library.

    Military Kids: a program that funds scholarships for Reserve and National Guard families. For details, click here

  • published VMF June 2022 Newsletter in News 2022-05-29 10:56:05 -0400

    VMF June 2022 Newsletter


    June 2022


    Vol. 2, No. 3

    To view in pdf, click here

    "At stake in cases challenging abortion restrictions is a woman’s 'control over her [own] destiny.' Their ability to realize their full potential, the Court recognized, is intimately connected to 'their ability to control their reproductive lives.'" She continued, "Thus, legal challenges to undue restrictions on abortion procedures do not seek to vindicate some generalized notion of privacy; rather, they center on a woman’s autonomy to determine her life’s course, and thus to enjoy equal citizenship stature.”

    — Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2007 Gonzales v. Carhart)

    Editor’s Message —

    Greetings! Following May’s celebration of Press Freedom, we heard about the leaked draft of a Supreme Court opinion that could overturn Roe v. Wade. Now the question is when will we celebrate Freedom for Women and all US citizens regarding their personal health decisions?

    Certain right-wing officials state that a right to abortion “is not deeply rooted in the nation's histories and traditions." Is that reason enough to ban it in 2022? I discovered an interesting fact when researching this topic. Benjamin Franklin included instructions for at-home abortions in a book in the 1700’s. There was no objection to this.

    It is apparent that some justices are out of touch with the real world and do not care what the majority of US citizens think. Look at the numbers (from The Atlantic, May 13, 2022): In 1972, 83 percent of Americans agreed that abortions should be allowed when “a woman’s health [is] seriously endangered by the pregnancy” and 72 percent said the same when the pregnancy is the product of rape. In 2021, those numbers were 87 percent and 84 percent, respectively. At least 70 percent of Americans since 1972 have also favored legal abortion if “there is a strong chance of a serious defect in [the] baby.”

    Hillary Clinton said, "I hope people now are fully aware of what we're up against because the only answer is at the ballot box to elect people who will stand up for every American's rights."

    Voters UNITE! Vote these people out of office. Request your absentee ballots and urge your friends to get theirs! Protect our unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!

    Terese Sarno, Editor


    Read more

  • published June Quiz in Brain Zone Quiz 2022-05-26 10:54:19 -0400

    Take This PTSD Quiz: 

    Here is the first question:

    #1 Thinking about the past week, how often have you had trouble focusing on things like reading, TV shows, or conversations?

    Zero? (Score 0 points) Once? (Score 1 pt.) A few? (Score 2) Several? (Score 3)

    To learn your PTSD risk level, answer the 17 questions here.

  • published June Reccomendations in Postcasts & Social Media 2022-05-23 11:39:26 -0400

    June Reccomendations

    Video: A must-see of Michigan State Senator Mallory McMorrow blasting a colleague: Here.

    Newsletters: Two of the best: Heather Cox Richardson: Here; Thom Hartmann: Here.

    Blogs: A blog by Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor & professor at UC Berkeley, about “power -- who has it, who doesn’t, and how it’s being used and abused.” Here  

    And for a blog by Robert Hubbell, go here.

    Podcasts: One of the best is Gaslit Nation, by Sarah Kendzior & Andrea Chalupa: Here.


  • published V-E Day in News 2021-05-08 02:17:04 -0400

    V-E Day

    Today V-E and WW II are commemorated around the world as those who served are honored. V-E Day marked the end of most fighting in Europe where tens of millions of service members and civilians lost their lives. President Harry S. Truman, who was born on May 8, 1884, announced the end of the war in Europe on his 61st birthday. About 16 million Americans served in World War II—with 2 million serving in Europe. 11% of our population fought in World War II. 
    Join the Global VMF Caucus Zoom Event Volunteers Honoring Veterans in Washington, D.C. with Helen Belletti, Volunteer Coordinator, today, May 8 at 3:00 p.m. CET. This event is co-sponsored by the DA Germany VMF Caucus and the Global Women’s Caucus.
    RSVP: [email protected]To join the VMF Caucus, go to: http://www.democratsabroad.org/vmf.     

  • published May is National Military Appreciation Month in News 2021-04-30 17:31:03 -0400

    May is National Military Appreciation Month

    May-National Military Appreciation Month

    A month to recognize and show appreciation to the Armed Forces of the United States of America.

    May 1, 2021- Loyalty Day

    A day set aside for American citizens to reaffirm their loyalty to the United States

    and to recognize the heritage of American freedom.  Learn more...

    May 1, 2021 - Silver Star Service Banner Day

    A day set aside to honor our wounded, ill, and dying military personnel by

    participating in flying a Silver Star Banner.  Learn more...

    May 6, 2021 - National Day of Prayer

    The National Day of Prayer is an annual observance held on the first Thursday of

    May, inviting people of all faiths to pray for the nation. Learn more...

    How can you pray for the military community? Learn more...

    May 7, 2021 - Military Spouse Appreciation Day

    A day set aside to acknowledge the contributions and sacrifices of the spouses of

    the U.S. Armed Forces. Learn more...

    ​LINK - Practical insights in caring for a military home front family

    May 8, 2021 — V-E (Victory in Europe) Day

    (Celebrated May 7 in Commonwealth countries)

    A day which marks the anniversary of the Allies' victory in Europe during World War II

    on May 8, 1945. Learn more...

    Volunteers Honoring Veterans in Washington, D.C. 
    with Helen Belletti, Volunteer Coordinator

    May 8, 2021, VE-DAY, at 3:00 p.m. (CET)

    RSVP for the Zoom Webinar: [email protected]

    To join on Zoom, go to: http://us02web.zoom.us/j/4414855431

    Meeting ID: 441 485 5431  (Waiting room. No password needed.)

    To join the VMF Caucus: http://www.democratsabroad.org/vmf

    May 9, 2021 - Mother's Day
    May 13, 2021 - Children of Fallen Patriots Day
    A day to honor the families our Fallen Heroes have left behind – especially their children. 
    It’s a reminder to the community that we have an obligation to support the families of our Fallen Patriots. Learn more...
    May 15, 2021 - Armed Forces Day
    A day set aside to pay tribute to men and women who serve in the United States’
    Armed Forces. Learn more...
    May 31, 2021 - Memorial Day (Decoration Day)
    A day set aside to commemorate all who have died in military service for the United
    States. Typically recognized by parades, visiting memorials and cemeteries. Learn more...
    May 31, 2021 at 1 pm Eastern (7 pm CET
    Virtual Event  Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Washington, DC        

  • published Earth Day/Week 2021 in News 2021-04-16 19:19:32 -0400

    Earth Day/Week 2021


    The theme for Earth Day 2021 is Restore Our Earth, which focuses on restoring the world’s ecosystems through natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking. 

    EARTH DAY observed by the U.S. military:

    The U.S. Air Force at Ramstein Air Base will plant 500 trees base-wide in designated places from April 20-22. This free activity is open to service members and their families. Trees will be distributed in the KMCC. parking lot. During Earth Week, the legendary Wild Boar Mud Run will also take place.
    The  U.S. Army “is committed to environmental excellence through stewardship, vigilance, and partnership with the community. Sound environmental practices are part of everything a Soldier does; thus, every day is Earth Day to the Army."
    The U.S. Marines are using Earth Day as a reminder “to reflect on our mission, our environment, and the need to preserve our resources for future generations of Marines, so we can continue to win our Nation’s battles.”

    The U.S.Navy: “Each year, our Sailors and Navy civilians go above and beyond to demonstrate our commitment to environmental stewardship. Not just on Earth Day, but in our daily work year round, we take pride in caring for the ecosystems and communities in which we operate."

    The U.S. Coast Guard: “Earth Day has been a day dedicated to educating everyone on responsible environmental management and supporting ways that make the planet healthier and more sustainable. It’s a chance to think about how our actions impact our environment. Individuals and organizations celebrate Earth Day in a variety of ways. Some people plant trees, clean up trash along highways, set up recycling programs or commit to saving energy.”

    From its beginning, Earth Day was bipartisan. A Democratic senator and a Republican congressman met with members of the media to promote the concept of a national teaching day for environmental issues.They chose April 22 for the event and everyone realized we all share common values. Everyone wants blue skies and clean water. Congress then created the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species.

    Schedule for Earth Week Events        
    April 18-Earth Day Initiative (EDI) and March for Science NYC, are offering a series of online events with speakers and presentations from politicians, artists, and activists such as Elizabeth Warren, Kyra Sedgwick, Rosdely Ciprian, and Marc Yaggi, exploring a variety of environmental issues. Check out the full virtual stage schedule here.

    April 19-at 3:00 p.m. (ET) the virtual march and rally, called “SC1.5NCE NOT SILENCE,” will take place in a 1990s-like virtual reality space created by Future Meets Present and Gather. Through an avatar, you will be able to visit booths, speak to exhibitors and other attendees, and, at 3PM ET, take part in a march and rally organized by March for Science NYC and Fridays for Future (the movement co-founded by Greta Thunberg).                                                                             You can attend by sending an RSVP via the EDI site.    

    April 20-a global youth summit.                                                                                                                                              

    April 21-a global education summit.                                                                                                                                        

    April 21- 8:30 p.m. (ET) join National Geographic for its Earth Day Eve 2021 virtual celebration, with performances by artists such as Angélique KidjoWillie NelsonYo-Yo Ma, and Ziggy Marley, and appearances by a number of environmental activists such as Dr. Jane Goodall. You can join at the NatGeo website or at its YouTube channel — and afterward, continue with the music of Jayda G on the organization’s TikTok channel.

    April 22- Earthday.org’s second annual “Earth Day Live: Restore Our Earth” online program, featuring celebrities, politicians, and activists, will be live streamed at noon (ET) at the same time as the global climate summit organized by the Biden administration. To participate, visit Earthday.org on the day of the event.

    April 22 & 23- Leaders Summit on Climate to which President Biden has invited 40 world leaders. A live stream link will be available on the date of the event.

  • Medal of Honor Monday: Navy Corpsman Richard D. DeWert

    April 5, 2021  | By Katie Lange, DoD News
    Know Your Military
    “Of the millions who have served the nation, more than 3,500 men and one woman have received its highest award for valor. Medal of Honor Monday highlights a different service member from this elite group each week.”

  • A Proclamation on National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day, 2021


    Enduring with limitless dignity and determination, these former prisoners of war are a powerful reminder that their indomitable spirit could not be broken, even by brutal treatment in contravention of international law and morality.  Despite the terrible suffering inflicted upon them by their captors in harsh prisons and camps in Europe and Asia, American prisoners of war steadfastly demonstrated their devotion to duty, honor, and country.

    On this day and every day, let us honor all who have borne the hardships of captivity in service to our Nation, remember the brave men and women who were held as prisoners in foreign lands during our Nation’s past conflicts, and recognize those at home who anxiously awaited their loved ones’ return.  Their faith in God, love of family, and trust in our Nation are an inspiration to all Americans, and we will always remember their sacrifices. 

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim April 9, 2021, as National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day.  I call upon all Americans to observe this day by honoring the service and sacrifice of all former prisoners of war as our Nation expresses its eternal gratitude for their sacrifice.  I also call upon Federal, State, and local government officials and organizations to observe this day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

                                 JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.