Magazine article VFW Magazine

Saluting Hospitalized Vets

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Saluting Hospitalized Vets

Article excerpt

VA commemorates patients in its hospital system with National Hospitalized Veterans Week (Feb. 13-19). There is good reason to do so.

For the first time since the Vietnam War, America's VA and military hospitals are caring for a large number of war-wounded. Just look at the statistics. As of Jan. 1,2006, some 16,000 Americans had been wounded in action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Of that number, more than 7,200 were so seriously wounded that they were not able to return to duty. For the severely wounded, the first U.S. stop is often Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda or Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio (please see the inspirational story beginning on page 14.)

Once the wounded are discharged from active duty, they make their way into the VA hospital system. While military installations may be out of reach, VA facilities are generally within driving distance of most veterans. So keep this especially in mind this month when you are thinking about ways to tangibly support the troops. There is nothing like a visit to the ward from a stranger to boost morale.

But visits are not the only means of cheering up the hospitalized. Outings for those who are able are a great way to lift the spirits. VFW Posts across the country have done this for generations. Fortunately, they still are. Let's look at one example.

At Post 224 in Aberdeen, Wash., members arranged a ceremony in December worthy of emulation. The Post hosted 18 Afghanistan and Iraq vets recently wounded or injured in the war zones. …

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