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Posts Tagged ‘Service Members’

This is a memorable day for all of us. Even if we didn’t know a single soul lost in the terrorist attacks, the catastrophe touched us all.

Operation Homefront was founded in the wake of those attacks. Once service members started deploying, concerned patriots saw the struggle families faced. They banded together to find ways to help, and their movement quickly grew.

Today we have chapters across the country made up mostly of volunteers. Nothing can make up for the lives lost and the families torn apart on this day nine years ago, but the people who’ve stepped up to serve in the military and in nonprofit organizations are helping our nation heal.

So thank you — to our military members, to our volunteers, our supporters and fellow nonprofit agencies. Today we remember not just the tragedy of the attacks, but the heroism, generosity and compassion that followed the devastation.

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Our combat mission in Iraq may technically be over, but our service members continue to deploy. That means our families are still facing long separations during a difficult economy. Today Operation Homefront CEO Jim Knotts spoke with multiple radio stations about how the families we support still need us, and how we all can help.

Here’s Jim’s interview with WRVA in Richmond.

Jim Knotts on WRVA Richmond 09-01-2010

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The big story last week was the withdrawal of troops from Iraq. The Today Show ran a lengthy package entitled “American Forces Withdraw from Iraq” — misleading if not outright inaccurate. Folks took exception to that vein of reporting on our Facebook page.

In reality, our troops are not gone from Iraq. The New York Times has a much more in-depth look at the future of Iraq and what kind of military presence we’ll need there over the long term.

So while it’s encouraging that the country appears to be more stable over all, our service members will continue to deploy to that region. They’ll continue to face the dangers of a war zone. They’ll continue to leave their families for long periods of time. They’ll continue to do their jobs.

That means despite what you may have heard or read this week, we still have service members in Iraq. And the ones who are coming home aren’t exactly done with the war either. The Washington Post points out these service members are bringing the war home with them. With an estimated one in five service members affected by PTSD, the families will share that burden as they welcome their loved ones home.

That means we’re not done with this war. We may never be. But we continue to hope and work toward better lives and resources for our military families.

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I can’t imagine the pain and stress of a service member’s funeral. The hurt, confusion and anger of losing a loved one on top of dealing with paper work and red tape would drive anyone to emotional extremes.

And it does. Fights between family members over how and where service members should be laid to rest have prompted lawmakers to start crafting legislation to quell the feuds.

Turns out state law — not DoD paperwork — is the determining factor in who claims the body. In one case, that meant an absent father got preference over the single mother who raised a fallen soldier, even though the soldier had designated his mother as his emergency contact. The father decided to bury the son in a state he’d never even been to. The mother was understandably devastated.

In Georgia, the new law requires the state to be true to the service member selected on DoD forms. Several other states are following.

We can’t legislate civility among fractious families. But if new laws can guarantee a service member’s final wishes are respected, surely that can be of some comfort to grieving families.

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