War, Veterans & Benefits

By Goldsmith, James N. | VFW Magazine, February 2002 | Go to article overview

War, Veterans & Benefits


Goldsmith, James N., VFW Magazine


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REMAINING VIGILANT

With America at war, every aspect of society is affected. That includes everyone from children to returning veterans.

When President Bush launched his Lessons of Liberty initiative last Veterans Day, he emphasized the need for veterans to help children cope with the terrorism war by discussing their personal experiences.

By learning from past conflicts, they can better handle the stress of the current one. Though schools will play the primary role in this regard, individuals have a part to play, too. That part can be in the classroom or the living room, or both.

So how can we as VFW members assist this noble effort? Since we all have children and grandchildren, we have a natural stake in educating youth. If you are so inclined, make yourself available to local schools as a speaker. Veteran-- speakers are in big demand by teachers today.

On a more personal level, take an active interest in informing kids in your own family. Besides telling them stories, read books about American history together. Another activity that is sure to please is visiting the many state and national military historic sites. This gives you an opportunity to make history come alive and create an interest in learning.

In my own home state of Michigan, for instance, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Lansing on Veterans Day. Restored forts dating back to the War of 1812 and earlier dot the landscape, as well as air and space museums. These symbolic and historic landmarks are great teaching tools.

At the current war's opposite end of the spectrum are actual participants. And here is where VFW members traditionally have the most impact. …

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