On November 11 each year, America celebrates Veterans Day — a time dedicated to the brave men and women in uniform who served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
On November 9, 2022, in celebration of Veterans Day, Denis McDonough, secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), addressed the nation in a special question-and-answer session with VA public affairs officer Jose Llamas.
In the live broadcast delivered from the Washington DC VA Medical Center, Secretary McDonough explained that Veterans Day “is a day for us to say thank you to our veterans [and] to stop and recognize the fundamental importance of veterans to the national fabric.”
“Veterans are the keeper[s] of the national ethos in so many ways,” Secretary McDonough shared. “Stopping for a day to note the great contributions of veterans to the country and to thank veterans for [their] service to the country is important.”
This year’s theme, “Honor,” selected by the VA, celebrates the spirit of courage and service demonstrated by the nation’s 18 million veterans from all sectors of the U.S. Armed Forces — all of whom have made countless personal sacrifices so that Americans can continue to enjoy the freedoms and values they hold dear.
Listed below are some ways you can honor our veterans this year.
1. Donate to a Veterans Organization
Veterans organizations do much-needed and important work by supporting soldiers after duty in a wide array of areas from mental health assistance to career planning and beyond.
This Veterans Day, consider donating to any of the following nonprofit veterans organizations:
- American Ex-Prisoners of War
- American Gold Star Mothers
- American Legion
- Blue Star Families
- Disabled American Veterans
- Hiring Our Heroes
- National Amputation Foundation
- National Association of Black Veterans
- Paralyzed Veterans of America
- The Mission Continues
- Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)
- Wounded Warrior Project
2. Attend a Veterans Day Event
Veterans Day events, including concerts, dinners, fairs, and parades, will take place all across the nation on November 11, 2022. These events provide American civilians ample opportunities to demonstrate their support.
When it comes to supporting the men and women who have served in the U.S. military, simply “showing up” is significant and meaningful. It’s perhaps the easiest way to demonstrate your support.
Look through your local newspaper or delve into online searches to find Veterans Day 2022 events in your community.
3. Take the Time to Ask a Veteran About Their Service
The sacrifices veterans make are too often underappreciated. Taking the time to speak with a veteran can help them know their sacrifices remain noticed and appreciated.
A few good questions to ask might be:
- When were you drafted or when did you enlist? If you enlisted, what were some of your reasons for joining the military?
- What were your job(s)/assignment(s) during your service?
- Which war(s) did you serve in (WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf)?
4. Visit a VA Hospital
Donating to charities is one great way to demonstrate your support for American veterans, but you can also donate your time. In honor of Veterans Day this year, consider signing up to volunteer at a local VA hospital.
Although the severity of the coronavirus pandemic has lessened to some degree, consult your local VA hospital and follow any rules or restrictions to prevent any further spread of COVID-19.
5. Deliver Dinner to a Veteran’s Home
The love and care that goes into preparing a home-cooked meal can be quite heartwarming. However, the possibility of COVID-19 exposure makes hosting a dinner party challenging, especially for older veterans with autoimmune diseases.
So, in honor of Veterans Day this year, consider making a veteran a home-cooked meal and dropping it off at their front door with instructions for reheating.
6. Fly an American Flag
If you are able to fly the American flag at your place of residence, there is no better time than November to proudly display the country’s red, white, and blue. Around this time of year, many Americans choose to fly the flag and keep it flying throughout the entire holiday season.
7. Shop at Veteran-Owned Businesses
As veterans return to normal civilian life and begin contributing to the workforce, it is vital that community members find ways to support their work. One great way to show your appreciation is by shopping at a local, veteran-owned business. Check to see if there are any veteran-owned businesses in your neighborhood.
Shopping online is also a great way to support veteran-owned businesses nationwide.
A few popular veteran-owned businesses include:
- Black Rifle Coffee Company (coffee)
- Bravo Sierra (deodorant)
- Combat Flip Flops (footwear)
- Dashfire Beards (facial hair products)
- GORUCK (backpacks/rucksacks)
- Spouse-ly (artwork)
- Teak & Twine (gifts)
- Smoked Bros (barbecue seasonings and spices)
8. Educate Yourself on the Difference Between Memorial Day and Veterans Day
Confusing Memorial Day for Veterans Day is a common mistake many Americans make. The mistake may rightly frustrate veterans and perhaps make them feel others don’t care about or understand the sacrifices they have made.
So, if you haven’t already, be sure to commit to memory the difference between Memorial Day — which honors military members who have died — and Veterans Day, which recognizes and honors all of America’s veterans.
9. Express Your Gratitude
On the surface, it may not be easy to tell how deep a veteran’s scars may go — and the personal work, commitment, and sacrifice it takes to heal those scars cannot be underestimated.
The least any non-service member can do is express their sincerest gratitude for the men and women who were willing to put themselves in harm’s way to help defend America at home and abroad.
This Veterans Day, take the extra time and effort necessary to let a veteran know their sacrifices are deeply appreciated. Saying “Thank you for your service” may seem like a small gesture, but it can go a long way.
Veterans and Service-Related Illnesses
During this time of year, it is especially important to remember the veterans whose military assignments unknowingly impacted their health.
Asbestos Exposure & Mesothelioma
U.S. veterans currently make up 33% of all patients diagnosed with mesothelioma — a rare and fatal form of cancer caused by repeated asbestos exposure.
U.S. Navy veterans are at an increased risk for developing mesothelioma, as the presence of asbestos on U.S. Navy ships and shipyards was prevalent prior to the 1970s.
Veterans whose mesothelioma diagnosis is connected to the work they performed while in the military may be entitled to compensation.
By filing a mesothelioma lawsuit, these veterans can pursue justice by suing the manufacturers of asbestos-containing products — not the U.S. Armed Forces or government — and receive mesothelioma settlements.
Toxic Water Exposure at Camp Lejeune
Thanks to the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, veterans who were stationed at U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for a minimum of 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 may have developed serious illnesses from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune.
Filing a Camp Lejeune lawsuit does not impact your existing VA benefits in any way.
Veterans diagnosed with service-related health issues may qualify to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit. Water contamination health conditions may include:
- Aplastic anemia
- Birth defects
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Cardiac defects
- Cervical cancer
- Esophageal cancer
- Heart attack
- Hepatic steatosis
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Multiple sclerosis
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Pancreatic cancer
- Parkinson’s disease
- Prostate cancer
- Rectal cancer
Veterans and their family can continue to receive their current VA benefits in addition to the financial compensation they may receive from a Camp Lejeune settlement.
These are two separate forms of compensation, and it is possible to receive both at the same time.
Additionally, Camp Lejeune wrongful death lawsuits can be filed on behalf of veterans who have died but would have been eligible if they were alive today. This means family members can file this type of lawsuit on behalf of loved ones in pursuit of financial compensation.
Military Burn Pits
Similarly, veterans of the Iraq War who served during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn between March 19, 2003 and December 15, 2011 may have been exposed to toxic fumes and chemicals released into the air at military burn pits.
These fumes and chemicals have impacted the health of many veterans of the Iraq War, increasing their risk for developing several types of cancer.
Military Firefighters & PFAS Exposure
Another group of veterans who are at-risk for serious and life-threatening illnesses are firefighters who served in the military.
As part of their job, firefighters sometimes use a type of foam called aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), which contains chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Repeated PFAS exposure has been known to cause several types of cancer, including:
- Bladder cancer
- Breast cancer
- Colorectal cancer (colon and/or rectal cancer)
- Pancreatic cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Renal or kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Thyroid cancer
Veterans who have been exposed to firefighter foam and as a result developed one or more of the above health conditions may be entitled to AFFF settlements for the harm they have endured.
Help from a VA-Accredited Attorney
At Sokolove Law, we are committed to supporting U.S. veterans. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a serious illness in connection with military service, you may be eligible for financial compensation.
By working with Sokolove Law, you can partner with a VA-accredited attorney who has years of experience helping veterans and their families.
Call us today at (800) 995-1212 for a free case review.