Veterans Day open thread

It’s the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Ninety years ago, the Armistice between Germany and the Allies went into effect and the Great War (which later became known as World War I) ended.

NavyBlueWife has a nice piece up at MyDD on the history of Veterans Day and what it means to honor our veterans.

Via BarbinMD I learned that the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) and the Ad Council have launched a “national multimedia public service advertising (PSA) campaign.”

The campaign aims to address the mental health consequences of combat, which threaten to overwhelm a new generation of veterans. The 1.7 million men and women who have served, or are currently serving, in Iraq and Afghanistan are facing an increased risk of mental health issues. Nearly 20 percent of military servicemembers who have returned – 300,000 in all – report symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or major depression, yet only slightly more than half have sought treatment, according to a RAND Corporation study released in April 2008. Untreated mental health conditions can cause or aggravate other debilitating problems in the veterans’ community including high rates of unemployment, suicide, homelessness, substance abuse, divorce and child abuse.

Created pro bono by ad agency BBDO New York, the campaign seeks to increase the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who seek treatment for mental health issues by connecting them with other veterans with whom they can discuss the issues they face as they readjust to civilian life. The campaign includes television, radio, print, outdoor and Web advertising. The TV spots feature Iraq veterans who are Purple Heart recipients.

You can view the ad here or at the new Community of Veterans website, which is designed for veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Here is the home page of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

The “IGTNT” team of diarists at Daily Kos write tributes to all American troops who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan. Today’s edition of this series contains links to many organizations that support and honor veterans.

Thanks to all veterans who have served in peacetime or wartime.

Thanks also to all the members of Congress who voted for the “new GI Bill” in May (you can find the roll call votes for the U.S. House and Senate here). My dad went to college on the GI Bill in the 1940s, and his family would not have been able to afford the tuition otherwise.

This is an open thread for any thoughts you have related to Veterans Day, or anyone you are remembering today.

UPDATE: I learned something new today in this letter to the Des Moines Register: Remember veterans: Fund ALS research

Very few people, including those serving in the military today, know that veterans are twice as likely to die from ALS – the deadly disease known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

We don’t know why vets are more likely to develop ALS. But we do know that the disease takes the strongest among us – our military heroes – and robs them of the ability to walk, move their arms, talk, eat and even breathe on their own. They are isolated and awake, alive with the knowledge that they are trapped inside a body they no longer can control.

As the disease progresses, there is little they can do, for there is no treatment for ALS. It is fatal in an average of just two to five years.

Urge elected officials to support funding for ALS research at the Department of Defense so we can learn why the disease is stealing our heroes and take action to protect them. Recently both Congress and the Veterans Administration have supported ALS research and provided benefits to veterans with the disease, but more must be done.

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