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Veterans Day 2012..

By: Patrap , 8:34 PM GMT on November 10, 2012

As Veterans Day arrives today were reminded of the Sacrifice and Honor our Veterans have given America for over 2 Centuries.

This week,tell a Veteran or Active Duty member How much you appreciate their Service.

Today we Celebrate those gone to rest,those among us..and those serving at Home and Around the Globe.

Tom Hanks gives a wunderful explanation of your WW-2 Museum here.

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The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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22. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
11:01 PM GMT on November 17, 2012
Patrap has created a new entry.
21. hydrus
3:22 PM GMT on November 13, 2012
Knew something was happening when I do not see a post on the Dr,s blog for that long. A hip replacement becoming infected sounds serious. I hope you had a great Veterans Day, and may you have a safe and quick recovery. Thank you for your service to help keep America and hers safe.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
20. Patrap
2:18 PM GMT on November 12, 2012
Thanks 45..

,..more here today.

Eric Shinseki, VA Chief, Charts Solid Gains For Veterans
Posted: 11/11/2012 9:30 am EST Updated: 11/11/2012 12:59 pm EST

WASHINGTON -- After Eric Shinseki took over a sleepy Department of Veterans Affairs four years ago, he decided some change was due. For one thing, those 154,000 homeless veterans living as beggars on the streets.

After some study, Shinseki, a decorated Vietnam veteran wounded twice in battle, ordered that the VA would not just reduce veteran homelessness -- it would end it. And end it by 2015.

The bureaucrats of the VA, a sprawling $140 billion empire that operates the nation's largest integrated health care system, sends veterans to college, insures their lives, guarantees their home mortgages and manages their burials, weren’t used to having someone over their heads barking orders. They certainly weren’t used to publicly announced deadlines.

"When I put that out, there was a lot of wind being sucked through teeth," Shinseki told The Huffington Post during a rare interview.

In combat, he explained, commanders never have perfect knowledge, never have enough time, never enough resources. "Sometimes you just gotta launch, and fight your way through the unknowns," he said.

That approach -- setting high goals, announcing them to the public, and then challenging and enabling people to reach them, marks Shinseki's tenure as VA secretary on this Veterans Day, nearly four years after he was drafted out of retirement by then President-elect Barack Obama. It may be that despite his many critics, the VA under Shinseki is nailing down reforms and expansion of services that have eluded previous VA chiefs for years.

In his interview with The Huffington Post, Shinseki asked that everyone take time Sunday to thank a veteran. "Don't hesitate -- just say thanks … this is the perfect opportunity. More importantly, if you are in a position to hire, hire a veteran. They will be the best employees you have."

Among his achievements so far: moving 31,000 chronically homeless veterans off the streets and into permanent housing last year and enrolling them in health treatment, substance abuse programs and job training. That work has dropped the homeless veteran population to 65,000 and put the agency on track to achieve Shinseki's 2015 goal on time, said Vincent Kane, director of the VA's homeless programs. "The end of 2015," Kane stressed.

It looks as if the VA will achieve another major Shinseki goal that sent gasps through the bureaucracy: ending the notorious backlog of pension and compensation claims by 2015.

The results, he stresses, have been achieved by the agency's 300,000 employees working under his management credo. "I have spent a lifetime watching kids make mistakes," he said, "because they were not trained or well led or properly motivated to do well. I never faulted the kids; rather, I saw opportunity to train, to motivate, to improve leadership -- not to punish the individual." Seeking to instill the same approach inside the VA, Shinseki started its first leadership training program.

But daunting challenges lie ahead as the VA struggles to serve two vastly different generations: the aging veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam, whose need for geriatric care is dramatically driving up the VA's health care costs, and the younger Americans surging off the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

While the older generation is filling the VA's 152 hospitals with patients needing nursing care for diabetes, Alzheimer's disease and congestive heart failure, the new generation of combat veterans is demanding more community clinics, mental health services, advice and assistance on college and jobs.

This new generation is posing an additional challenge for the VA: the 50,000 wounded from Iraq and Afghanistan. Along with those bearing the common wounds of war are the more severely injured, including roughly 15,000 who would have died on the battlefield in past wars, who are now being saved because of advanced and speedy medical intervention. Many of them are double or triple amputees or severely burned patients who will require intensive and lifelong care.

The younger generation of vets is also more diverse: The proportion of women veterans will double from about 6 percent of veterans in 2000 to 14.5 percent by 2035, the VA projects, requiring new expertise in dealing with women's health and sexual trauma issues.

More than 2.5 million young Americans have served in the past decade of wars, and apart from the normal flow of troops retiring from active duty into the veteran population, the military ranks will be thinned by about 88,000 additional military personnel because of projected budget cuts over the next decade. All this will put new demands on the VA.

"Look, let's not kid anybody -- this system is gonna be overwhelmed. It's already overwhelmed," Marsha Four, a Vietnam war combat nurse and veterans advocate, said recently. "As we draw down over the next five years we're gonna be adding another 100,000 per year, and to effectively deal with health care, benefits and other challenges -- that's not gonna be easy. This is inherently part of the cost of war, and it'll be a big ticket item."

Two years ago, for instance, the VA finally acknowledged what had been clear to veterans over the ages: War is traumatizing, and those who experience it need help when they come home. Increasing numbers of veterans were being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI), and tens of thousands of others were either undiagnosed or just coping with mild symptoms. The VA's suicide hotline was jammed with 17,000 calls a month, and the VA estimated that 18 veterans kill themselves every day.

The VA's decision to provide free treatment to every veteran with symptoms of PTSD was undoubtedly the right one. But it prompted a flood of new demands for mental health services, a surge only partially met by the VA's hiring of 20,000 new mental health clinicians.

Thousands of veterans seeking mental health counseling found long waiting lines for too-short appointments and some VA counselors unschooled in military culture and insensitive to the specific concerns of combat vets. Things got so bad that the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals actually ruled that "unchecked incompetence" at the VA was unconstitutionally denying veterans access to timely mental health care.

Extending free mental health care to new veterans with PTSD also helped gum up the VA's creaky and already overwhelmed paperwork system of adjudicating pension and compensation claims.

Before 2009, the VA routinely was handling around 900,000 claims a year and barely keeping its head above water. In 2010, VA clerks processed a million claims -- but were still overwhelmed because 1.2 million new claims came in the door. It became a bitter part of veteran lore that so much paperwork accumulated in the claims office in Winston-Salem, N.C., that the floor sagged, and one worker was injured when stacks of claims toppled over on him.

Claims continue to pour in. Under pressure from Congress, the VA also recognized that any veteran exposed to Agent Orange, a herbicide used by the U.S. in Vietnam, would be treated for free, whether or not he could prove he was exposed.

In 2011, VA clerks worked frantically at the growing pile of claims and managed to process 1 million -- but 1.3 million new claims piled up outside.

Today, almost a million veterans are waiting to have their claims for compensation or pension approved; two-thirds of them, 597,337, have been waiting more than 125 days.

That, and more, is known to the public because of another Shinseki innovation: announcing specific goals, making sure his people have what they need to reach those goals -- and then publicly posting the results. The infamous "backlog" of claims is updated in the VA's internal weekly reports.

More broadly, Shinseki ordered the VA to post a painstakingly detailed list of his reform initiatives, a blueprint of the efforts that are being put against those goals and -- startling to Washington's bureaucratic corps -- the results so far.

Among these goals is to end the backlog of claims by the end of 2013, and Shinseki set about reaching that goal with customary determination, using 2008's new GI Bill as a test. That program, for post-9/11 veterans, pays a complicated set of benefits for those enrolled in college or vocational education courses. In 2009, the year it was implemented, VA clerks processed 173,000 paper claims by hand.

Working nights and weekends for 18 months, VA techs put together an automatic processing tool. They brought in a "red team" that worked every day to break the program. "They were very good at breaking it, but over time as we worked on it they were able to break it less," Shinseki said.

Now that system is processing 550,000 claims for college tuition and 400,000 vocational education claims a year.

The next step is to apply the same technology to compensation and pensions, the VA system that's clogged with over 1 million claims. The automatic claims-processing system is currently in place at five regional VA offices and will be up and working in 18 offices this year, and in all 52 offices by the end of 2013, Shinseki said.

Yet veterans' experiences with the current VA, of course, are mixed.

"I can't say enough about how well I've been treated here," said Jim Robinson of Eden Prairie, Minn. He went to Vietnam as an 18-year-old Marine and served in combat for 19 months, then came home with "some serious PTSD issues." It took him 45 years to make his way through a fog of alcoholism to the VA medical center in Minneapolis.

"Sometimes persistence is required to work through the bureaucracy," said Robinson, who is now 65. "But intentions are good and I've never had trouble having my needs fulfilled."

The VA does a lot of good, concedes Ralph Ibson, national policy director of the Wounded Warrior Project. "At the same time, we see trends that have not changed in terms of timeliness of care, in terms of a system that remains essentially passive and puts the burden on the veteran to knock on the door."

Shinseki awaits an invitation from the White House to continue shepherding the VA through the next few years. What drives him through this challenging and often thankless mission, he says, is a combat-forged bond with his fellow veterans, from his days at West Point (class of 1965) to Vietnam and through the 38 years he spent in uniform, ending as a four-star general and Army chief of staff.

"You don't get many do-overs in life. This is a do-over." An intensely private man, Shinseki added haltingly, "I get to take care of the kids I fought with in Vietnam and the kids I sent off to war" in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I shipped kids off to war, and this is a chance to take care of them when they come home, and to take care of the kids who weren't cared for when they came home," he said. "I just wasn't going to walk away from them."

CORRECTION: This article originally stated that Shinseki aimed to end the backlog of pension and compensation claims by 2013, rather than 2015.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
19. airman45
1:22 PM GMT on November 12, 2012
Happy Veterans Day, Pat!

Thank you for #13 post and I heartily agree with every word. The problem now is most members of Congress (I don't know the exact percentage) did not serve in the military so we are treated as any other special interest group it seems.

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18. Patrap
9:53 PM GMT on November 11, 2012
Thanx fer stopping by this Veterans Day mermaidlaw.
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17. mermaidlaw
9:46 PM GMT on November 11, 2012
Love to ya Pat!! Thanks!
And Thank You to all others that have served, and are serving!
God Bless!
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16. Patrap
5:15 PM GMT on November 11, 2012

Dad with me at San Diego during Graduation week Oct 1980
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15. Patrap
5:02 PM GMT on November 11, 2012

Joseph D. Pearson

USMC WW-2 Battle of Okinawa
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14. Patrap
4:52 PM GMT on November 11, 2012
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
13. Patrap
4:48 PM GMT on November 11, 2012
Veterans Day: Healing the Wounds of Those Who've Served Us -- A Spiritual Perspective

Posted: 11/10/2012 8:33 am

Over the past couple of decades the makeup of our military forces is undergoing some drastic change. Despite the herculean recruiting efforts by each of the services, fewer and fewer of our citizens are choosing to serve in uniform. I find this to be a curiosity of some interest. Two particular statistics bear this out.

Firstly, the most recent available U.S. Census data indicates that there are about 315 million people in this country. Secondly, out of our total population at any given time only 2.6 to 2.8 million Americans are serving in one of our military branches. This means that at any given time there are less than 1 percent of our citizens serving in uniform.

I interpret these numbers to infer that a very small portion of our citizens are engaged in this form of public service. Therefore, this small number of our fellow citizens now bears the responsibility to carry out the roles of diplomatic power projection, and the provision of security for our country. In other words, very few people are carrying a very heavy load so that most of us can have a 401k, travel at will throughout our country and the world and watch cable news on our 42" HD television.

An additional conclusion can be made that we are on the verge of becoming blind to service members and veterans; that we have forgotten about them, and therefore no longer care about them. Even in the recent presidential debates, aside from the argument over who would cut or fund "defense spending" to include a moderately interesting comment about Navy ships and "horses and bayonets," we hardly heard any mention of the military. We heard even less about the fact that every day our service-members continue to be engaged in armed conflict in Afghanistan.

Through some fairly simple fact checking, I found that during the period of the four debates in October at least 10 U.S. service members were killed in Afghanistan. Since none of the candidates who aspired to be Commander in Chief saw fit to tell you about them, I will. Of the 10, eight were in the Army, one was in the Navy and one was a Marine. They ranged in rank from an Army private first class to a Navy commander. The youngest was 20 years old and the oldest was 49; six of them were in their 20s; eight were male and two were female. Seven were Caucasian, two were black and one was Asian. All of them had a parent or parents. Many had spouses, children, brothers and sisters.

At the same time that the 10 service members were killed, an untold number were wounded. In addition many of those who have physical wounds which we can see, also have psychological and spiritual wounds within.

Why bring out these hard statistics, you may ask? Can't you just leave well enough alone and let this tragic war fade into the rearview mirror of historic obscurity? Let me answer my own questions. I am a person of faith and a Christian. In my opinion, one of the most influential sayings of Jesus in the Christian Scriptures is this one: "This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one's life for one's friends" (John 15.12, NRSV).

If people of faith are going to engage in God's mission of healing, forgiving and restoring, we have to know the facts. If we are serious about healing, we will soon find ourselves chest deep in repentance and penance. The service members and veterans are the unseen citizens who have been going to war, OUR WAR, for more than 10 years. I recognize that many of us have little or no sympathy with the war.

However, that does not absolve us of the need to care for these citizens who are our children, neighbors, sisters and brothers. How will we love those who have been willing to lay down their lives for us? Do we care enough about service members and about veterans to help them? Though there are some technical and organizational fixes to the solution for helping service members and veterans that may not be the fix for God's people. God calls us to more than a simple fix. The first principle is, I believe, to take seriously Jesus' mandate of love.

I receive calls, letters and e-mails all the time from people in dioceses, parishes and civic groups asking me what they should do to take care of veterans. My response to them is that there a host of other organizations that can help you to put together programs and processes that will aid you in dealing with veteran's needs such as psychological help, homelessness, education, retraining and medical assistance. I have come to the conclusion that program construction is really the easy part. The harder part is to determine if and why you care.

Veterans Day happens only once each year. It is easy and patriotic to care about service members and veterans on this day. For people of faith, the significant challenge is whether or not we will recognize, remember and care for those who have served us in uniform during the other 364 days of the year.

Bishop James "Jay" Magness is Bishop Suffragan for Federal Ministries of The Episcopal Church. Based in Washington, D.C., he is responsible for the pastoral care and oversight for armed forces chaplains, military personnel and families as well as oversight of federal hospitals, prisons, and correctional facilities. He retired from the U.S. Navy in 2003 in the rank of Captain, serving as command chaplain of U.S. Joint Forces Command and fleet chaplain for the U.S. Fleet Forces Command. Prior to those assignments, from 1997 to 2000 he was on the Navy Chief of Chaplains' staff as personnel manager of the Navy Chaplain Corps.
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12. Patrap
3:12 AM GMT on November 11, 2012
Good to be back aub, K, and old.
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11. ycd0108
1:50 AM GMT on November 11, 2012
Hey Pat!
With you back here all is right with the whirl.
Missed you but guessed you were Sandybusy.
Mind you the pictures you had up on your blog just before you took time off were not at all reassuring.
Welcome Home!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
10. oldnewmex
1:19 AM GMT on November 11, 2012
Thanks to those who served (or still serve)our country in the military.
A tip o' the hat to all of you.
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9. auburn (Mod)
12:22 AM GMT on November 11, 2012
good to see you online Pat!
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8. Patrap
12:04 AM GMT on November 11, 2012
To the medical ones in our lives as well.

We Veterans salute you.

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7. Patrap
11:41 PM GMT on November 10, 2012
5. whitewabit

Always remembered, never forgotten ww.

Thank you as well.
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6. Patrap
11:40 PM GMT on November 10, 2012
Quoting janetlee:
thanks for stopping by
and Thanks for your service to our country.

Hubby served 7 years as a Marine, Our 2 sons are/were career Military. (1 is now retired & #2 retires in June. Also have a Gson in service.


Thanx for your words and entry over on yer blog too.

Enjoy the weekend.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
5. whitewabit
11:30 PM GMT on November 10, 2012
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4. janetlee
10:05 PM GMT on November 10, 2012
thanks for stopping by
and Thanks for your service to our country.

Hubby served 7 years as a Marine, Our 2 sons are/were career Military. (1 is now retired & #2 retires in June. Also have a Gson in service.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
3. Patrap
9:02 PM GMT on November 10, 2012
See what I'm driving at and I'm back behind the wheel
I'm just a little nervous - it's something to do with the way I feel
Mm, the way I feel, with the way I feel
Trouble understanding, nothing too out of hand
A little overloaded Some kinda storm in the heart of the man
Oh, mm, in the heart of the man
I must have heard it somewhere
I can't quite remember Mm,
look what I've turned into and I'm back inside the car
We traveled in luxury A little celebration went a touch too far
Mm, just a touch too far, just a touch too far
I must have passed it somewhere,
Mmm, now I can't quite remember, oh-oh
Oh, but here it comes again
The mirror tries to please me
The image wouldn't stay
The stranger is too perfect Take my breath away
The future rides beside me Tomorrow in his hand
The stranger turns to greet me And take me by the hand Shame
... ooh-ooh Ooh, look what I've turned into and I'm back inside the car
We traveled in luxury A little celebration went a touch too far
Mmm, just a touch too far, just a touch
It something to do with the way I feel With the way I feel, oh, ooh-ooh
The mirror tries to please me The image wouldn't stay
The stranger is too perfect Take my breath away
The future rides beside me Tomorrow in his hand
The stranger turns to greet me And take me by the hand
The mirror tries to please me The image wouldn't stay
The stranger is too perfect Take my breath away

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2. Patrap
8:47 PM GMT on November 10, 2012
Happy Birthday to all the United States Marines,

Those serving today, Veterans, and those gone to rest.

Semper Fi

The Commandants 2012 Birthday Message

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
1. Patrap
8:40 PM GMT on November 10, 2012
Cause I need your love, yes I need you love, yes I need your love
Oh I need you love,
I'm looking high I'm looking low,
Can't find where did my baby, gotta find out why she ranaway

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