Memorial Day is one of just a couple days a year in which attention is brought specifically to veterans.
While the remembrance earlier this week is a reminder of veterans’ service to the country, the issues and needs associated with returning veterans is an ongoing issue. Many veterans struggle with health and emotional issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), have difficulty finding jobs and trouble finding a new normalcy in civilian life.
According to the Center for Investigative Reporting, the wait time for veterans to receive benefits has skyrocketed from 116 days in 2009 to 330 days now. In response, US Representative Bill Enyart is sponsoring legislation to try to reduce that wait.
What the bill would do is pay partial, provisional benefits for veterans whose cases aren't handled within 125 days after they are submitted. Currently, that would apply to more than half a million veterans.
As of May 6, 2013, there were 19,900 veterans waiting to hear a response from the St. Louis Regional VA "about compensation for a disease, injury or illness linked to service in the military."
Where does that number, and classification of it, come from? The Center for Investigative Reporting has released a huge set of data (which is periodically updated) from the nation's Department of Veterans' Affairs and its local offices.
Making the transition from the military to civilian life can be difficult.
Many veterans come out of the military with combat trauma, a condition which must be dealt with before they can move on. And many don’t admit their condition for fear their discharge will be delayed or they won’t be able to get jobs needing a security clearance or jobs in law enforcement.
Only a fraction of those with combat trauma register with a VA hospital.
According to the group’s website, “Our nation’s veterans each have a unique perspective to share about our history. First-hand recollections of their service provide a richer and more personal context to historical accounts.”
In September 1944, just nine days before his 23rd birthday, 1st Lt. Don Nicholson boarded the B-17 bomber known as “Little Chum” for a run over Germany. It was his 26th mission navigating the plane referred to as the "flying fortress."
Missouri veterans homes are getting a significant boost as a result of new legislation establishing a dedicated source of funding.
Governor Jay Nixon attended a ceremonial bill signing at the St. Louis Veterans Home on Thursday.
Missouri currently has seven nursing homes which serve some 1,300 veterans. The legislation will allocate $32 million to the Missouri Veterans Commission annually, up from just $6.6 million, and will be paid for through per-patron fees paid by casinos.