Global Veterans & Military Families Caucus



  • The Veterans and Military Families Caucus is made up of DA members from around the world who are willing and able to advocate on issues important to the veterans and their families within the United States of America and those living abroad. The Caucus will accept any DA member.

    Democrats Abroad (DA) honors the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces; their service deserves our deepest gratitude and respect. Government policies must reflect the interests of those who are serving and those who have served, including their families. This caucus will work within DA to achieve this endeavor. 

    We share and adhere to the principles and demands expressed in the platforms of both the Democratic Party and DA regarding veterans, active military and their families abroad.

    We recognize and appreciate that all of the various groups, ethnicities, persuasions, identities, and beliefs that make up American society are present in our military; we share issues and concerns in common with the other DA caucuses. Discrimination has no place in the military and its ancillary organizations, nor the Veterans and Military Families Caucus.

    GOALS

    ∙ Reach out to veterans, active duty and reserve military members as well as their dependents living abroad to encourage them to register to vote and to engage them in advocacy for our policy positions;

    ∙ Provide a forum for DA members to understand better the issues and concerns affecting our military forces, veterans, and their families outside of the United States;

    ACTIONS

    ∙ Provide support for visits to wounded/recovering warriors and caregivers at overseas U.S. military hospitals in conjunction with like-minded external organizations;

    ∙ Exchange information and concerns with other DA caucuses and interest groups regarding relevant issues and shared concerns to ensure that as they impact veterans and military families, they are communicated among the broader DA community for a successful joint response;

    ∙ Organize participation in Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies at U.S. landmarks abroad such as military cemeteries, battle sites, and places of historical U.S. military significance;

    ∙ Facilitate get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts for veterans and military families; also develop sensible and sensitive strategies for encouraging active service members at U.S. overseas military bases to vote;

    ∙ Establish and maintain contact with other American political organizations to find areas of joint concern regarding U.S. veterans and military dependents;

    ∙ Always strive to improve the DA Platform and organize advocacy efforts towards U.S. law and policymakers for issues pertinent to veterans, active military, and their families living abroad;

    RESPONSIBILITIES

    ORGANIZATION

    Email:  VeteransCaucus@democratsabroad.org 

     

    DA Global Veterans & Military Families Caucus Leadership:

    Bob Gould
    | Co-Chair, Global Veteran and Military Families Caucus; Chair, Book and Current Event Club
    Michael Lee
    | Co-Chair, Global Veterans and Military Families Caucus
    See all Leaders

    News

    Remembering the prisoners of wars and the missing in action: a representative wreath laid at the Suresnes American Military Cemetery in France

    To commemorate National POW/MIA Recognition Day, September 18, four representatives of the DAF Veterans and Military Families Caucus laid a wreath on the alter in the chapel  at the Suresnes American Cemetery and Memorial at Mont Valerien, near Paris. It is a most captivating chapel, where the names of the 974 Missing in Action, men buried or lost at sea during WWI, are shown on four plaques.  
     
    Anna Marie Mattson, (Interim Chair of the DAF Veterans and Military Families Caucus), Beth Herwood, Tilly Gaillard and Claire Baker were escorted on an instructive, moving guided tour of the cemetery by Sandrine Debote, Assistant Director, Guide and Associate of the cemetery. 
     
    World War I soldiers, seamen, and members of the Air Force, all comrades in arms from across the United States lie at rest in this cemetery where tombs are marked with Latin crosses (1542) and Stars of David (22). The tombstones show the name, home state, branch of the military, date of death. The cemetery is beautifully tended to respect the right to peace and tranquility of the fallen. There are 24 unknown soldiers from WWII; correction 23 ‘unknown’ since now 1 ‘known’ soldier thanks to a recent DNA test. The family had the choice to either bring their loved one home or leave him with the other soldiers. Their decision was to leave him in France.
     
    The American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) was established by Congress in 1921 to honor the U.S. Armed Forces who fought abroad so that “Time will not dim the glory of their deeds” (General John Pershing). The cemeteries are open to the public. The land is made available to the United States in perpetuity but remains the property of the Republic of France. 
    Check out the pictures here.
     
    Tilly Gaillard 
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    Commemoration of National POW/MIA Recognition Day

    Friday, September 18th at 11am

    Suresnes American Military Cemetery


    National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag being displayed with the US flag. 
    ©iStockphoto.com/Joseph C. Justice Jr.

    As a member of the DA France Veterans and Military Families Caucus, you are invited to an outdoor guided tour of the Suresnes Military Cemetery by the ABMC Staff this Friday, September 18th at 11am followed by a wreath laying on the tomb of the unknown soldier in commemoration of National POW/MIA Recognition Day. There are 974 MIA buried at the Suresnes Cemetery.

    Directions: Trains depart from Gare St. Lazare to the Suresnes Mont Valerien station. From the Suresnes station it is a 10-minute walk to the cemetery. Address: 123 Boulevard Washington, 92150 Suresnes.

    Many Americans across the United States pause to remember the sacrifices and service of those who were prisoners of war (POW), as well as those who are missing in action (MIA), and their families. All military installations fly the National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag, which symbolizes the nation’s remembrance of those who were imprisoned while serving in conflicts and those who remain missing.

    National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag being displayed with the US flag. 

    Background

    There are 1,741 American personnel listed by the Defense Department's POW/MIA Office as missing and unaccounted for from the Vietnam War, as of April 2009. About 90 percent of the 1,741 people still missing were lost in Vietnam or areas of Laos and Cambodia under Vietnam's wartime control, (Source: National League of Families website and cited on the US Army website).

    National POW/MIA Recognition Day has been observed since 1979 upon the passing of a United States Congress resolution. As of 1986 onwards, the date was fixed on the third Friday of September. 

    History of the POW/MIA Flag

    The National League of Families’ POW/MIA flag symbolizes the United States’ resolve to never forget POWs or those who served their country in conflicts and are still missing. Newt Heisley designed the flag. The flag’s design features a silhouette of a young man, which is based on Mr Heisley’s son, who was medically discharged from the military. As Mr Heisley looked at his returning son’s gaunt features, he imagined what life was for those behind barbed wire fences on foreign shores. He then sketched the profile of his son as the new flag's design was created in his mind.

    The flag features a white disk bearing in black silhouette a man’s bust, a watch tower with a guard on patrol, and a strand of barbed wire. White letters “POW” and “MIA”, with a white five-pointed star in between, are typed above the disk. Below the disk is a black and white wreath above the motto “You Are Not Forgotten” written in white, capital letters.

    National POW/MIA Recognition Day is not a federal public holiday in the United States but it is a national observance.

    Source: https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/pow-mia-recognition-day

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    Upcoming Events

    Tuesday, October 20, 2020 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) · 8 rsvps

    Global Voter Assistance: October 20th

    Did you know every eligible American living abroad can vote in U.S. elections this year? 

    Do you have questions about how to vote? Click the chat bubble at the bottom of this screen and we can help you find the answers.  

    Join us October 20th, or any Sunday(24hrs), Tuesday, Thursday & Friday (noon-4pm) and Saturday (2am-10am) till November U.S. Eastern time to talk to a volunteer LIVE on Zoom about questions you have about voting from abroad.

    How is it done on Zoom? You'll come into the main room and be paired 1:1 with a volunteer into a breakout room to ensure privacy and that you can get all your questions answered. It couldn't be easier. 

    More information: The easiest way to request your ballot is at VoteFromAbroad.org. It takes just a few minutes to complete and send in your form to the US state where you last lived. The website will guide you step by step. In most cases it’s pretty simple. But if you’re new to voting abroad, or if you haven’t done it in a while, you may have additional questions. That’s why we’ll be here every Sunday until election day to help.

    If you can’t make it, you can always email us at helpdesk@votefromabroad.org or send in your question through our online help bubble, and a volunteer will get back to you.

    Join Zoom Meeting
    https://zoom.us/j/91090344003

    Meeting ID: 910 9034 4003
    Passcode: Vote2020

    Thursday, October 22, 2020 at 12:00 PM Eastern Time (US & Canada) · 2 rsvps

    Global Voter Assistance: October 22nd

    Did you know every eligible American living abroad can vote in U.S. elections this year? 

    Do you have questions about how to vote? Click the chat bubble at the bottom of this screen and we can help you find the answers.  

    Join us October 22nd, or any Sunday(24hrs), Tuesday, Thursday & Friday (noon-4pm) and Saturday (2am-10am) till November U.S. Eastern time to talk to a volunteer LIVE on Zoom about questions you have about voting from abroad.
    How is it done on Zoom? You'll come into the main room and be paired 1:1 with a volunteer into a breakout room to ensure privacy and that you can get all your questions answered. It couldn't be easier. 

    More information: The easiest way to request your ballot is at VoteFromAbroad.org. It takes just a few minutes to complete and send in your form to the US state where you last lived. The website will guide you step by step. In most cases it’s pretty simple. But if you’re new to voting abroad, or if you haven’t done it in a while, you may have additional questions. That’s why we’ll be here every Sunday until election day to help.

    If you can’t make it, you can always email us at helpdesk@votefromabroad.org or send in your question through our online help bubble, and a volunteer will get back to you.

    Join Zoom Meeting
    https://zoom.us/j/91090344003

    Meeting ID: 910 9034 4003
    Passcode: Vote2020

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