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May 23rd, 2009
08:59 AM ET

Honoring our men and women in uniform

Update: As promised, here are the links that were discussed during today's 4p hour: Housing Assistance

This Memorial Day weekend I want to say thanks to all our men and women of service, past and present.

We are inspired by the work carried out by all our honorable members of the armed services.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you this weekend as we devote our Saturday 4 PM Eastern hour to you, your dedication and sacrifices.

And a message to any and all of you who come into contact with a man or woman who has served, a kind word of thanks goes a long way. Our service-members can't hear it enough. They should be reminded as often as possible their service is appreciated and noticed.

Filed under: Fredricka Whitfield
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Kevin

    Thank you for making this a topic and reminding people what this holiday is really all about. However, when it is over I really encourage people to go out and do more than SAY thank you but actually SHOW thank you. Help a soldier in need, help a homeless vet, help soldiers and their families while they are deployed.

    Actions are critical.

    May 23, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  2. warren

    i served in the navy when reagon was president i was proud to be a american now i feel sorry for the men and woman serving today they will be nothing but cannon fodder for the clown who is in office today.

    May 23, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  3. warren

    i feel sorry for the men and woman in the service this memorial day.with the clowns in office obama biden and pelosi they will be nothing but cannon fodder god help them

    May 23, 2009 at 10:34 am |
  4. Patrick Fleming

    This is a really "touchy" subject. I suffer from many conditions to include PTSD, MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER, CHRONIC PAIN, PROSTRATING MIGRAINS, SCIATICA, and more. I am rated at 80% and recieve 100% compensation plus full benefits.

    The problem with the V.A. health system is that veterans are confined to the V.A. and in many cases can't get the proper medical treatment because of the "red tape" involved with getting consults to physicians outside the V.A. Some service equipment, such as MRI and other equipment based medical applications, have to be farmed-out to civilian medical centers. This process sometimes doesn't happen and the veteran suffers without proper care because the consult is denied.

    Pat Fleming
    San Francisco, CA.

    May 23, 2009 at 11:31 am |
  5. Don Wells

    Why are there more vets homeless, the there are more vets that are millionaires? Why is that our government doesn't care about our wounded warriors? Support our troops, but only when we can exploit them. Thank you Mr. Bush for a job well done. Thank you Mr. McCain for being a former POW and turning your back on your brothers in arms and walking on their broken backs to carry your political career

    May 23, 2009 at 1:08 pm |
  6. Terri Bogan

    I heard you speaking earlier about the "Stigma" of mental health among our Veterans?? These men and women probably do have some sort of issues related to their tour of duties! It's not unreasonable. It should be considered and discussed and substantial help be given to our veterans who have the need. AND.. with out the Judgment of any sort of STIGMA..that's a moral question if there ever was one! the small minded may speak! Thanks

    May 23, 2009 at 1:10 pm |
  7. Frank Allinger

    All I can Say Is Help!

    I Served In Air Force In Thailand. 1969 to 1970

    Please Help Us Get House Bill AGENT Orange Equity Act of 2009 Passed and Signed.

    How many more must die

    I as Many Served Now it is Time For Our Country Step Up For All Vets

    Thank You For You Help

    May 23, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  8. Julie

    I am glad to see that the military is encouraging soldiers to get care for combat stress - it seems incredibly important. I saw the piece you did on the Real Warriors Campaign, and wanted to thank you for calling attention to the website!

    May 23, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  9. Helene Guinther

    Have VA health benefits for Desert Storm veterans been limited? What happened to lifelong health care for our veterans.

    May 23, 2009 at 3:09 pm |
  10. Theresa Bomia

    I want to Thank All my brothers and sisters in the military who have died for me and my country. The amount of sacrifice and courage it has taken to help others and our own , cannot be given a measure to it, they have sacrificed ALL . I would like to ecspecially mention my family members who have served with Herioc guts, honor, and glory some are in heaven , Major Ronald Hall. Arthur Stillwagon, Raymond Carson, William Bomia. I want to ecspecially honor my husband Jeffery Bomia who served in the Gulf War, He has Gulf War Syndrome, diabetes, diabilitating migraines, emphysyma, bone defromaties and the list goes on. For those in the government who say there is no such thing as "Gulf War Syndrome" Take his place for one day and tell me about SUFFERING and what COURAGE is.....Soldier you are my "HERO!"

    Proud American,
    Theresa Bomia
    Southgate MIchigan

    May 23, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  11. Vicki W

    I'm starting to really get sick of hearing Obama whine and blame the past administration. Even in his Memorial Day message he goes on and on whining about the past and how He will save our souls. I used to think he was a great speaker but the whining and blaming has no bearing anymore. I'm glad Bush is gone... I'm starting to wish Obama was also. As bad as Bush was, he was a man that didnt blame and whine.

    May 23, 2009 at 3:10 pm |
  12. Mary - Mom of Iraq Vet

    My son has served two tours in Iraq. His first tour was in Balad where he was exposed to the burn pit and all the horrible chemicals and wastes that were burned there. His health is compromised, he lost over two years of his son's life and he is over $30,000 poorer because he served his country. My grandson was homeless for 5 months during his father's 2nd deployment, he knows how if feels to go to bed hungry, he literally stopped growing both times his father served and he is behind in school. It is of absolutely NO value when people say thanks that my son has served. Words are hollow and there is NO action on the part of the average American to actually support our troops and their families. A new war needs to be put into place, it could be called "No Draft- No War". I would like to all the brave, flag waving, we support our troops, Americans scream for blood and war when they or their children will be drafted and forced to serve.

    May 23, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  13. Johnn

    A parade is nice but healthcare would be better. The governments should do the right thing and give all veterans healthcare. Veterans should not have to ask for anything that they already deserve.

    May 23, 2009 at 3:19 pm |
  14. Kay

    I don't appreciate the remark that was read mocking the Auto Workers regarding them being put ahead of our fallen heroes. There are several service men/women that worked for the auto industry that were killed while on active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are also several active military soldiers that are counting on the jobs they currently hold in the auto industry to still be there when they return home. The auto industry will not fire a soldier that is called up to serve, their job is still there when they return home. That is if there is an auto industry to come home to.

    May 23, 2009 at 3:29 pm |

    I will officially retire from the Air Force reserves and Air Force the end of this month,after 29 years of service and a tour in Afghanistan last summer, I am amazed at just how hard it is for reservist to get quality health care for themselves and their families as well as how hard it is to find gainful employment after serving in a combat zone,When I was younger employers would bend over backwards to hire a vet.Now, serving in the reserves can be the one thing that keep you from getting a call back for work because they know that the penalty is to high if it were stated that they would not hire you because your serving in the military.Instead they just don't call back!Thanks to my comrades in unform,for your service.

    May 23, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  16. Kay

    To: Mary – Mom of Iraq Vet

    I don't mean to be rude, but why didn't you give your grandson somewhere to live and meals to eat while your son was on duty? It may not be your responsibility, but it would have been the right thing to do.

    May 23, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  17. Betty

    As we honor our soldiers remember their Blue Star mothers who cry every night they are gone, praying they will come home alive. They leave as our "babies" but come home as BRAVE MEN & WOMEN.
    Pray for the Gold Star mothers who will never see their "babies" again.

    May 23, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  18. Ann Schenk

    Hi Fredricka, concerning the problem of PTSD and our troops, there is a web site,, that has information on a technique based on acupressure and statements that work on how the brain stores trauma memories. It is very effective on all types of trauma, injuries, accidents, abuse etc.. I don't know who to contact that would be able to get this information to the right people, can you pass this on to the people that work with the troops? I personally know this works, It would be one more tool for them to use, Thank you , Ann Schenk

    May 23, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  19. Don Wells


    Vets don's ask for what the WERE promised, we BEG!!!
    There is this program in the ARMY called CBHCO (Community Based Health Care Organization) which sends injured activated/mobilezed national guard and reservist back to their home of records to be swept in the cracks. This program was designed to cover up the mass number of injured troops coming back from this unpopular war in Iraq. The idea is to send the troops home and have them work in a duty center while they recieve treatment from civilian doctors. the problem is when you are out of site you are out of mind and the 'soldiers' watching out for these troops are not in the same state. My platoon SGT and Case Manager where in a different state. I was suppose to drive 50 miles each way to a reserve center (I was national guard) work on miscellinous work from 7am till 6pm while i was suppose to be healing. Not to mention add a few more hours on it for chicagos nice traffic. My worksite was not even my own unit. I was just suppose to work there. This was while I had two major surgieries and was suffering severe migraines. I couldn't even take my medication in fear that I would end up crashing my car. I was forced to do this for over three years. In CBHCO's program.

    I hate the military, and i almost hate my country. I was once a loyal and patriotic soldier. Now I'm just bitter. I'm planning to move to Europe where they are actually free.

    May 24, 2009 at 6:58 am |
  20. shorttimer

    It will take more than rhetoric to solve the troubles in the VA.

    I am a well-decorated, disabled Army veteran and former Soldier of the Year in the VA Vocational Rehabilitation's Self-Employment Program.

    There is no argument that I have a viable business plan that should generate over 150 permanent jobs for my fellow veterans. Indeed, a primary goal is is to be a veterans employer of choice in the Greater Las Vegas job market.

    In spite of the fact I have a 70% disability rating, my VocRehab Counselor refuses to grant me Category One status in the Self-Employment Program. The difference between category one and category two is the difference between failure and success. Category one provides the necessary equipment, appliances, supplies and even the initial inventory while category two provides little more than a business license.

    More likely the reason I can't get the approval I need is because the Las Vegas office has never put anyone through the self-employment program and they don't want to start with me. At least, it certainly appears that way and I'm not the only one with that opinion.

    The excuse I received was that I don't meet the definition of a severely disabled veteran. However, that doesn't hold water since the VA Inspector General issued a precedent ruling stating that veterans with a 20% or higher disability rating are considered most severely disabled. (VAOPGCPREC 2-2008; June 25, 2008).

    My counselor and his supervisor don't appear to have anything to worry about since they don't appear to answer to anyone. At least I haven't been able to find anyone, yet.

    It appears that even if I were to appeal. I will end up with the same unmotivated and disinterested counselor since after he made a few inappropriate comments I asked for a different counselor and was told he was the only one available.

    I find it difficult to believe the VA doesn't have someone qualified to oversee my program. Indeed, a recent study recommended the VA hire specialized employees to travel between the various office to counsel veterans in self-employment programs.

    "Self-employment should be viewed as a specialized function, and VR&E should designate specific employment or vocational rehabilitation counselor staff members at the Regional Office or on a geographic or area basis as the lead to facilitate all self-employment cases. The low volume of demand for this service and the technical assistance requirements do not support an investment to acquire a full complement of “in-house” self-employment service capabilities." (2004 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Task Force, pg. 82)

    Sadly, one of the veterans I hope to hire tells me the same counselor treats him differently since he told the counselor he wanted to get a job in my company.

    So, from my experience, it looks as though it will take much more than rhetoric to cure the VA.

    Still, if anyone has any ideas, suggestions, or "actionable" advice it would be greatly appreciated.

    James West
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    May 24, 2009 at 8:50 am |

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