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VA Portland Health Care System
Veteran Connection Newsletter, Fall 2019
Monday, November 4, 2019
In this issue (Click here):
- Health Care System Director's Message
- MISSION Act Town Hall Nov. 6; resources and information
- Veterans find a path to work and mental health; VA Portland's Vocational-Rehab team paves the way
- Stand Up to Stop Harassment Now! Declaration
- National American Indian Heritage Month
- Veteran Listening Sessions in Vancouver, Dec. 19
- NAMI Homefront Classes
- Health Care Planning Workshops
- Research Study - Smokers Needed
- Dementia Education, PVAMC Dec. 6
- Dementia 101, Vancouver, Nov.19
- VA Farms Interested in gardening?
- Sign up to get email alerts on all things VA Portland
Director's Message:On Veterans Day, a grateful nation pauses to reflect, remember, and honor those brave men and women who heeded the call to arms and served our Nation in uniform. Today, there are 19.6 million living American Veterans. These are ordinary citizens who did extraordinary things for all of us. They are our mothers and fathers, our brothers and sisters, our aunts and uncles, our children, and our neighbors. This solemn tradition of honoring those who served their country and secured for us the peace and freedom we enjoy traces its roots back to the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. This is the precise time and date of the Armistice that ended World War I in 1918; one hundred and one years ago today.
In 1938, Congress passed a law officially making November 11th, Armistice Day, a national holiday. In 1954, legislation changed the name to Veterans Day, formally recognizing it as the time to honor all Veterans or all eras who served in uniform in defense of their nation.
In cities large and small throughout this great land there are monuments and markers that commemorate the memories and the service of those Americans who have served in all our wars, in every era. Remembering their service is one small way of repaying the debt America owes her Veterans; those who offered their lives so that others might be free. Simply put, Veterans answered our country's call. It is one of our nation's great strengths that men and women from every region and every ethnic background have answered that call and continue to heed it today. So, as we salute Veterans, we can reflect that, long after the guns fall silent, the cost of freedom continues to be paid.
It is up to us, now, to keep faith with the men and women who served. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, every single day is Veterans Day. We trace our very existence to President Abraham Lincoln’s devotion to Veterans and his steadfast belief that the service of our Veterans must be justly recognized by a grateful nation. Almost 160 years later, the commitment to Veterans is being realized in improved access to health care, benefits, and improved national shrines where Veterans are laid to rest. VA is dramatically transforming to provide the best care for those who have served. They deserve our best efforts in all we do for their service and sacrifice. VA is also committed to ending sexual harassment and pledge to “Stand Up to Stop Harassment Now!” This public pledge reaffirms our commitment to creating a safe, respectful and welcoming environment for everyone. Not all Veterans feel welcome in our system and many have been subjected to disparaging comments and disrespectful treatment. It is up to all of us to advocate for our fellow Veterans and each other. Simply put, we cannot tolerate even one person feeling uncomfortable in a place of healing built solely for Veterans.
Today, Veterans Day 2019, our country rightfully offers its full measure of gratitude to citizens who wore the uniforms of our Armed Services. Veterans preserved this country and helped it grow. In the days to come, the more than 4,00 employees of the VA Portland Health Care System will be standing at the ready to honor the service of those who have taken up the challenge laid before our Nation. We will provide them the benefits and services a grateful Nation offers in return for what they have done for all of us and we will do this with Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence (ICARE) in an environment that is open and welcoming and free from harassment.