EVERY MAY THE thoughts of a few of us, too few, turn to our memories of fallen comrades and we privately go through our annual ritual of private mourning and make plans to attend public ceremonies on Memorial Day. For other combat veterans, we go through this mourning cycle, on significant anniversary dates throughout any given year. Most Americans, sadly, just look forward to a three day weekendand give no thought to the sacrifice of veterans. Too many don't even know what Memorial Day is all about.
Every Memorial Day we are reminded that, "The best way to honor the service and sacrifice of our dead veterans is to work for our living veterans." Yet, today, too few are willing to take even a little time, or donate a little money, to help outhow sad!
Today, for the first time in American history the VA budget is being underfunded and cut when we have troops in harms waythat has never happened before when we were at war. Today, we thank our veterans and openly pledge our "support for the troops"but too many choose a small, selfish tax credit over adequately funding healthcare for our wounded warriorswhat hypocrisy! This has to be correctedwe have to do more!
This May, 17th, 18th & 19th (Wednesday, Thursday & Friday) the Annual Las Vegas Homeless Veteran's Stand-Down is scheduledthis is the one event of the year that is exclusively for our homeless veterans only. It will be at the Eagles, behind their building, 1601 E. Washington Ave., Las Vegas, NV. Contact: Pauline Gaumond at the U.S. Vets (702) 429-7554 for more information on what type of volunteer help is needed and what supplies are needed most.
Memorial Day falls at the end of the month and there are other significant dates in May, like Armed Forces Day, where we should do more to fully honor the sacrifice of our Active Duty, Reserves and our National Guard personneland this year it falls on Saturday, May 20th right after our Stand Downwhat perfect timing!
So, the Nevada Democratic Veterans & Military Families Corps has decided to hold a Campaign Kick-Off & Rally in honor of all our Armed Forces, and Veterans and Military Families at the North Las Vegas, Silver Mesa Recreational Center, located on the North-West corner of Allen Lane and Alexander Road, at 4025 Allen Lane, North Las Vegas, NV 89032. We will be honored with special guests, The Honorable Max Cleland, former VA Secretary under President Jimmy Carter, and Congresswoman Shelley Berkley will be the keynote speakers. In addition we will have representatives from "The 2006 Fighting Democratic Veterans" and the newest, nationally chartered, major veteran's organization, the Iraqi & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA).
We will have a reception area where everyone can check-in, get a refreshment and visit with the guests and veterans leadersthen, will do the rally and press conference after.
Seating is limited, so call me at (702) 220-9303 or e-mail me at email@example.com to reserve a seatwe especially need to know if you are a disabled vet in a wheel chair.
Though the event is sponsored by the Nevada Democratic Party and the Clark County Democratic Partyit will be hosted by the Veterans & Military Families and we are extending a very cordial invitation to all Veterans that are Registered Democrats, as well as select Independents, Non-Partisans and moderate Republicans that have openly and courageously supported us in a non-partisan manner. In any case we want to ask that everyone conduct themselves respectfully, politely and professionally. We don't need any more "conduct unbecoming" here in Las Vegas on the part of rude veteransgiven, especially, the past dishonor a few radical right-wingers embarrassed the entire veterans community with in the recent past.
Then, there are the annual Memorial Day activities being held over the weekend of Sunday, May 29th & 30th at the Southern Nevada Memorial Veterans Cemetery located a short drive down to Boulder City, NV. Each year they need help with putting out all the flags and preparing for the ceremonies. Almost every local and national vet group will be going down to pay their respects and participateand every veteran that really cares should make it a point to do so. It is the one time of the year that we can look out across a crowd and see that we can all stand together in a common cause respectfully.
Let's mobilize our volunteer members. Now is the time to start working together on stocking up for the Stand-Down, Voter Registration and preparing for our annual honor to our comrades. Now is the time to remember the ultimate sacrifice made by the unfortunateand make a little sacrifice of our own in their honor. Let's work together!
Johnathan L. Abbinett is a 22-year disabled Army veteran and, now, a highly respected Veteran's Advocate, Activist and Columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.