Bill Harding: Honor veterans and servicemen this holiday season |

Bill Harding: Honor veterans and servicemen this holiday season

Bill Harding

— Last week, we celebrated Thanksgiving, and we are entering the shopping frenzy prior to Christmas and New Year’s in less than 30 days.

Let us stop from our hectic schedule long enough to thank all the members of our Armed Forces.

All of us in America, and a many other places in this world, have much to give thanks for at this time of year – good prosperity, health, family and friends. But let us especially remember, and give thanks and praise to those who are serving, have served and, more importantly, to those who gave their all in this world in the pursuit of democracy.

For many of us, the current conflicts are far removed from the front.

We just don’t feel it, unless we have someone serving overseas. We only see it during evening newscasts.

Most of us are not touched by the sacrifices that our troops are making in the sands of far off places with names very difficult to pronounce or spell. Many of us disagree with the reasons for even being there, but our troops are there, and they are dying every day.

Those that do agree with the reasons hope that the soliders’ sacrifices and duty in those countries on foreign soil will prevent another incident such as 9-11 from happening on our shores.

Many others are also serving to protect our home front besides those in foreign lands.

It is truly a monumental sacrifice that our Armed Forces give us.

As of Nov. 15, 4,323 U.S. servicemen and women have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom, in Afghanistan.

That number does not count the additional 30,270 wounded in action. Most of them sit in wheelchairs or hospital beds at various VA facilities. Some of those sit in Psychiatric wards seeking care. Others will just quietly try to endure a pain that only those who have served in direct combat will ever know. Those personal scars from military conflict, whether visible or invisible, last far longer than the conflict itself.

Some scars are external, some are internal, but all those involved will show these scars of war for many, many years after the guns of the war in which they served are silenced. For many, the guns of the current conflicts and the trend to withdrawal without honor, have reopened wounds that have been repressed for 40 years or more.

All veterans and those currently serving deserve to be honored during this extended Holiday season, as we enjoy these holidays, because of their sacrifices for our way of life.

VA tidbits

Here are some tidbits to help you understand some VA benefits:

Divorce terminates all eligibility for a spouse to receive any part of a veterans. Disability Compensation when the divorce becomes final.

Under the improved pension plan, all other VA compensation and/or pensions are counted as income. The VA will not accept an election of improved pension unless it is to the vet’s advantage.

If a veteran dies in a VA hospital, for confidentially reasons, the VA does not put a death notice or obit in the local newspaper from where the vet lived. Such notices are at the discretion of the vet’s family or guardian; and are handled either by the funeral home with the family’s guidance or by the family itself.

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