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In This Issue: November 2, 2012 Latest News

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The Vietnam Veterans Memorial 30th Anniversary Commemoration

The Reading of the Names

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund is hosting the "Reading of the Names" of 58,282 service members inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., as part of the special activities to commemorate The Wall's 30th Anniversary.

The Reading of the Names will take place at The Wall for 65 hours over a four-day period, beginning with an opening ceremony on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. Volunteers will read names for approximately eight hours from 4 p.m. on November 7 to 12 a.m. Participants will then read the names for 19 hours daily from 5 a.m. until 12 a.m. on November 8, 9, and 10.

The Reading of the Names in Washington, D.C., has only occurred on four other occasions. In November 1982, the names were read aloud at the Washington National Cathedral in conjunction with a week-long National Salute to Vietnam Veterans. The names were also read in November 1992, as part of the 10th Anniversary celebration; in 2002, during the 20th Anniversary celebration; and in 2007, as part of the 25th Anniversary celebration. For more information: http://www.vvmf.org/Ceremonies

Veterans Day 2012

November 10: VVA Chapter 227 to Host 24th Annual
DMZ to Delta Dance

The 24th Annual DMZ to Delta Dance will be held November 10, from 8pm to midnight, at the Holiday Inn Rosslyn at Key Bridge, 1900 N. Ft. Myer Dr., Arlington, VA. Admission is $30 per person. For more information and to order tickets, go to: http://www.vva227.org/dmzdance.html

November 11: 30th Anniversary of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial

The ceremony at The Wall begins at 1pm. For more information: http://www.vvmf.org/Ceremonies

November 11: Veterans Day Arlington Cemetery 

The Veterans Day Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery commences at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans' organizations and remarks from dignitaries.

Important: Attendees are strongly encouraged to arrive early, as the lines to pass through security screening may become lengthy. Once capacity is reached, which may happen by 10:30 a.m., or earlier, entrance to the area will be closed. For more information: http://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/

Women Veterans Healthcare

Prevention is the First Line of Defense for Women Veterans

According to the October 31 Military Health System blog, the health and wellness of female service members, family members, retirees, and veterans is a top priority for the Department of Defense. A key part of ensuring health and wellness is early detection and prevention. Regular checkups can help lessen the severity and even prevent a variety of diseases and conditions, from breast and cervical cancer to heart disease and more. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides some basic guidelines for preventive screening; however, it is important to remember that every woman is unique, and some may need certain tests earlier or more often than others. Patients should discuss with their doctor which of the following tests are right for them and when and how often they should have them:  mammograms; pap smears; cholesterol checks; blood pressure; colorectal cancer tests; depression; osteoporosis; and if sexually active, tests for sexually transmitted diseases.

Smartphone App

Arlington National Cemetery Unveils New Online Map

On October 22, Arlington Cemetery administrators announced an interactive map available through its website and through a free smartphone app detailing the gravesites of the roughly 400,000 people buried there. It uses geospatial technology to hone in on specific graves and can also be searched by name. When a name is called up, a viewer can see when the person was buried and the dates of their birth and death. Photos of the front and back of the headstone can also be viewed. Monuments and memorials that commemorate the service of specific military units are also included in the database.  

Cemetery officials built the database over the last two years to verify the accuracy of their records brought into question by reports of misidentified graves. Prior to 2010, the cemetery used paper records and maps to track who is buried where.  The database and app can be accessed through the cemetery's website www.arlingtoncemetery.mil

Public Comment Database

Participate in the Healthy People 2020 Process

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has extended the public comment period through November 6, 2012, at 5pm.  You will be able to: (a) comment on proposed new objectives to be added to the Educational and Community-based Programs and Social Determinants of Health Topic Areas; and (b) propose new objectives to be included in 1 of the 42 existing Healthy People 2020 Topic Areas, including healthcare-associated infections. To participate, visit the online public comment database.

VA Benefit Delays

Backlog of VA Education Benefits at Record Level

As reported by Leo Shane in Stars and Stripes, VA officials have noted that education payouts typically see longer delays at the start of the spring and fall semesters, however, this year, the backlog is worse than ever. According to the VA’s statistics, the number of pending education benefits claims spiked to more than 330,000 last month, nearly double the number recorded for the months of September 2011 and September 2010. VA officials blamed the education payout delays in large part on the growing volume of veterans applying for student benefits. Almost 4 million claims have been filed this year, up 13 percent from last year’s record numbers. College veterans who are waiting for their benefits are often stressed out about paying rent or making it through the semester. Follow this link to read more

From Student Veterans of America

False Stats Mischaracterize Student Veteran Graduation Rates

On October 25, 2012, The Huffington Post published an article that stated 88 percent of newly enrolled student veterans will drop out of college by next summer. This statistic is unfounded and simply not true.  No organization, including the federal government, is currently able to accurately track the national graduation rates of student veterans.

"I was incredibly disappointed to read yet another story citing an erroneous figure as a fact," said Michael Dakduk, executive director of Student Veterans of America. "These baseless claims are an insult to the talents, abilities, and dedication of every veteran succeeding in America's institutions of higher learning." 

SVA's own research found that an NBC News article from July 2, 2012, was the first known media report this year citing the 88 percent dropout rate as fact. The source for NBC's "statistic" is not a report, but rather a presentation published by the Colorado Workforce Development Council and the Colorado State Office of the Department of Labor's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS). 

The presentation cites reports from the American Council on Education (ACE), the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pension (HELP) Committee, and the book Combat Leader to Corporate Leader by Chad Storlie as sources for the data. Not only are these documents void of such numbers, but officials for the three groups have repeatedly stated that they did not provide the information. Storlie highlighted the dangers of such mischaracterizations:  "We need to see veterans with a degree as the future business, government, and civic leaders of this country. This type of incorrect information misrepresents the value that veterans bring to organizations everyday with their military and higher education skills."

Unfounded reports about low student veteran graduation rates are particularly heinous as the federal government tries to reduce spending. "Billions of taxpayer dollars have funded the education of over 800,000 Post-9/11 GI Bill beneficiaries," said Dakduk. "Untrue claims of low-dropout rates could be used as evidence for cutting the Post-9/11 GI Bill. This is a grave injustice to the hard-working veterans who have decided to better themselves through higher education, and one that SVA will not tolerate."
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