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Veteran Service Officer's Briefing: March 2017

Gather military service and other personal documents and keep them in a safe place for use by your survivors. It's the right thing to do.

Enough begging. If Lake County veterans don't care enough to get involved with an Honor Guard to conduct military funeral honors, don't come griping to the veterans service office or anyone else if graveside or other honors can't be done. Honor Guards and service organization posts need your help. There are no excuses.

HOW TO GET POLITICALLY INVOLVED?

Find out who represents our area/county and contact them directly. Make sure veterans you know are aware of who represents them. Here's a link for our Lake County (and adjacent counties) state and national representatives: www.gis.leg.mn/iMaps/districts. Take an interest.

BENEFITS / INFORMATION IN BRIEF:

If you receive correspondence from Veterans Affair, read it. It will generally tell you what they want or what you have to do. Call or visit the office with questions or for help.

Veterans Affairs expanded disability benefits eligibility for veterans and family members exposed to contaminated water at Camp LeJeune for the following conditions: kidney cancer, liver cancer, non-hodgkin lymphoma, leukemia, multiple myeloma, scleroderma, Parkinson's Disease, aplastic anemia, and myelodysplastic syndromes. Aplastic anemia is a condition that occurs when your body stops producing enough new blood cells and leaves you feeling fatigued and with a higher risk of infections and uncontrolled bleeding. Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS) are a group of bone marrow disorders in which the bone marrow does not produce enough healthy blood cells. If you lived on the base for 30 days or more between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987, this may apply to you.

Unless you have a direct office number, don't call the Twin Ports VA Clinic. You'll be transferred down to the VA Medical Center Minneapolis Call Center. This is where most of your appointment or pharmacy needs can be addressed: Audiology call (715) 398-2493; Eye Clinic call (715) 398-2497; Pharmacy Refill call 1-855-560-1721; Mental Health call (715) 398-2469; DAV Van (to book a ride to Minneapolis VA) call (715) 398-2406.; VA Hospital Minneapolis call center call toll-free at (866) 414-5058, ext. 1100, or direct at (612) 467-1100.

This year's flight is scheduled for April 29. Don't wait to submit an application. They are accepting applications from Word War II veterans as priority followed by Korean and Vietnam veterans, with remaining seats going to veterans from other conflicts. Veterans fly for free, and guardians have a $600 fee. Still may be some seats left. If you're interested in this flight please call the main office or Honor Flight Northland. Contact info:

Honor Flight Northland, P.O. Box 7229, Duluth, MN 55807-2473

(218) 409-6110

info@honorflightnorthland.org

The office will be closed March 21-23 for a training conference. Call 834-8326 for update hours and closures.

DATES OF VETERAN INTEREST:

• March 1, 1781 — Articles of Confederation were ratified. Under the articles, Congress was the sole governing body of the new American national government. They remained in effect through the Revolutionary War until 1789, when the current U.S. Constitution was adopted.

• March 4, 1933 — FDR gave his Depression-era speech which included "Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself..."

• March 6, 1836 — Alamo fell to Mexican troops led by General Santa Anna. It began on Feb. 23. "Remember the Alamo" became a rallying cry for Texans who went on to defeat Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto in April.

• March 7, 1945 — U.S. troops invaded Germany across the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen.

• March 15, 44 B.C. — Julius Caesar assassinated in Rome Senate chamber by Brutus and fellow conspirators. After trying to defend himself, Caesar saw Brutus with a knife and asked "Et tu, Brute?" (You too, Brutus?) Caesar then was stabbed to death.

• March 16, 1968 — In Vietnam, the My Lai Massacre occurred. Lt. Calley only officer convicted, later pardoned by President Richard Nixon. Also, official St. Urho's Day.

• March 17 — Celebrated as Saint Patrick's Day commemorating the patron saint of Ireland.

• March 18 — St. Urho celebration in Finland, American Legion Post 109 Combined Honor Guard will lead the parade.

• March 19, 2003 — OIF began.

• March 20 — Spring begins

• March 23, 1775 — Patrick Henry said in a Richmond speech, "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!"

• March 24, 1934 — The Philippine Islands in the South Pacific were granted independence from America.

• March 29 — Vietnam Veterans Day.

N. V. "Vince" Sando is the Lake County Veterans Service Officer and is a member of the National Association of County Veterans Service Officers and Minnesota Association of County Veterans Service Officers.

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