Randle Tolliver, Post Quartermaster/Adjutant
Please see our page at www.facebook.com/VFW-Post-6660 for more post information.
Our next meeting is 2 PM, Sunday, 15 November at the Courthouse in Centerville.
Unfortunately, we had to cancel the 24 October VFW VSO support visit. I hope that we can reschedule the event for December.
Our annual Teacher of the Year, Patriot’s Pen, and Voice of Democracy programs will run through 31 October. Children who are home schooled are also welcome to participate. For more information, please contact Randy Tolliver at (573) 924-2382 or/[email protected]
It’s flu season! Veterans in the VA health care system can receive free flu vaccinations through the Community Care Network in-network retail pharmacies and urgent care partners. Just present a valid, government-issued ID. To confirm your eligibility call the John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, at 1-573-686-4151 or call 844-MyVA311 (844-698-2311), select 1, and then select 1 again. For locations, see https://www.va.gov/communitycare/flushot.asp
It’s just a few weeks until Veterans Day. Last week I wrote about the history of this holiday, but this week I would like to discuss veterans in today’s society. Historically, the majority of American families had at least one member of their family who served in the armed forces. Today’s civilian population is more removed from the military community. It is not that uncommon to encounter families that have no living relatives serving in the U.S. military – thus, the creating a civilian-military divide. According to Census Bureau, in 2018, approximately 18 million Americans, or about 7 percent of the adult population, who were veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces. Ranging from 18 to over 100 years old, they served in conflicts as diverse as the World War II and the Global War on Terrorism. The number of veterans in the United States declined by a third, from 26.4 million to 18.0 million between 2000 and 2018. There are fewer than 500,000 World War II veterans alive today, down from 5.7 million in 2000. As the WW II, Korean and Vietnam era veteran’s age out, the veteran population is predicted to decline at an annual rate of 1.8 % to an estimated 12.0 million in 2045. Bottom line, veterans make up less than seven percent of the United States population, and this percentage continues to decrease. As the percentage of those who serve in the armed forces decreases, the civilian-military divide will continue to widen. The most recent analysis I could locate was a 2011 Pew Research Center survey which found that 61% of Americans had an immediate family member who had served. However, this closeness to military personnel decreases among younger people. For instance, while 79% of ages 50 to 64 reported having an immediate family member who had served, but just 30% of those ages 18 to 29 said the same. This indicates the civilian-military-divide with Millennials (ages 23 to 38) and Generation Z (teens-23 this year) is increasing. Although a 2013 Pew survey indicated Americans continue to hold the military in high regard, with 78% saying that members of the armed services contribute “a lot” to society’s well-being, surveys also indicate military families feel as though civilians don’t understand or appreciate the demands of military life, and this lack of awareness can build barriers.
How do we recognize Veterans Day? While hanging a yellow ribbon wreath on your front door for the holiday is a good start to recognizing veteran’s military service, please consider the rest of the year. This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, visiting a veteran’s hospital or assisted living, nursing home or visiting a home bound veteran in may be difficult, you can contact your local VA’s Public Affairs office for information on volunteer opportunities. You can also reach out to the local American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Vietnam Veterans of America chapters to see if they organize a VA visitation you can volunteer for. Work to close the civilian-military divide.
Recently a monument to honor women in the military was unveiled at the Women in Military Service for American Memorial in Arlington, Virginia. The Pledge, sculpted by Susan Bahary, is a bronze statue of a kneeling service woman in full combat gear, locking eyes with her working military dog, meant to honor the promise of loyalty made between a soldier and their combat dog in faithful allegiance to our county.
Now for a few reminders:
Starting 1 January 2021 retirees will begin paying monthly premiums for TRICARE Select. You should receive a letter from Health Net Federal Services LLC enrollment department, and for more info go to https://tricare.mil/Plans/Enroll/Select/EnrollmentFees. Beneficiaries must set up an allotment with their regional contractors during TRICARE Open Season, which runs from 9 November to 14 December. These allotments for the enrollment fee must begin on 1 January, 2021.
For the status of our local VA medical facilities in Poplar Bluff, and Farmington, please contact call 1-573-686-4151 or see https://www.poplarbluff.va.gov/services/index.asp
If you need to obtain military service documents such as a DD 214/ Separation Document or Official Military Personnel File (OMPF), please contact the National Archives, National Personnel Records Center at https://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records or call 1 (866) 272-6272.
For more information, call Elmer Winingar at (573) 637-2585, Jay Parks at (573) 689-1477 or Randy Tolliver at (573) 924-2382 / [email protected] For more information concerning the VFW at the national level please go to www.vfw.org and at the state level, http://movfw.us.
“Here to Serve”