NY Metro Vets- November 2006 Newsletter, Veteran's Day Edition

November 6, 2006 | Other News, Things to Do

NY Metro Vets- November 2006 Newsletter, Veteran’s Day Edition


This Newsletter Includes the Following Articles:
· Veterans To Receive Cost-Of-Living Adjustment
· VA Announces Veterans Pride Initiative
· Veterans Day Salute
· Purple Heart Museum
· Training Workshop for VSOs/Advocates
· Number of Vets Seeking Treatment for Stress Double
· Manhattan VA Laptop Stolen
· VA CARES Update
· Veterans Events in NYC
· My Final Thoughts

VETERANS TO RECEIVE COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENT: The President recently signed into law S. 2562, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2006. The law provides, effective December 1, 2006, a 3.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to the rates of disability compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation paid to the survivors of certain service-disabled veterans. The COLA is based on the rise in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W) and is equal to the COLA applied to Social Security Benefits. [Source: Military.com, 30 Oct 06]

VA ANNOUNCES VETERANS PRIDE INITIATIVE: Leaders of major veteran’s organizations have joined Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson to ask men and women who have served in the military to wear their medals on Veterans Day. The Veterans Pride Initiative is modeled after a tradition in Australia and New Zealand. Mr. Nicholson said he hopes a U.S. tradition will ensue to emulate this pride in being a veteran and in honoring the nation’s veterans. For more information, visit the VA’s Veterans Pride Initiative web page at: http://www1.va.gov/veteranspride/ where veterans can also obtain information about how to replace mislaid medals and learn how to confirm the decorations to which they are entitled. [Source: Various]

VETERANS DAY SALUTE: In their annual salute to all veterans, McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants will again provide free meals in honor of Veterans Day. All veterans can receive a free lunch or dinner entrée at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurants nationwide on Sunday, November 5th, 2006. Veterans should show proper identification (VA Card, VSO membership card, discharge papers, etc.) Reservations are strongly encouraged! To find a local McCormick and Schmick’s Restaurant near you, visit: http://www.mccormickandschmicks.com and click on the “Veterans Appreciation Event” icon in the lower right hand corner.

Also thanking Active duty and Veterans, the Golden Corral Restaurants will also be having their annual salute to the military on Monday, November 13th, 2006 from 5 to 9 PM. Military Appreciation Monday (First Monday after Veterans Day) is set aside for Golden Corral to honor all active duty and retired military personnel with a free “thank you” dinner beverage at any Golden Corral restaurant. No identification is required. For more information, please visit their website at: http://goldencorral.net/specials/ [Source: Various]

PURPLE HEART MUSEUM: The nation’s roughly 1.7 million Purple Heart recipients will get a museum to call their own. The mission of the National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is to collect and preserve stories of Purple Heart recipients from all branches of the service and across the generations in an attempt to ensure that all recipients are represented.

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, set to open on November 10th, 2006 in Vails Gate, NY will be the first national museum dedicated to those who have received the Purple Heart. The museum will be the first facility to honor all recipients who have been wounded or killed in action. The museum will remain “the sole repository dedicated to the preservation of the stories of wounded patriots’ sacrifice,” according to the Military Order of the Purple Heart, a veteran’s service organization representing 39,000 Purple Heart recipients based in Springfield, VA.

The museum will have a series of exhibits, videotaped interviews with veterans, historical photos, documentary film footage, period objects and the Roll of Honor – an interactive computer program detailing stories of each recipient. The 7,500 square foot facility will house a reception area, gallery, exhibit hall, an education center and a presentation room.

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor overlooks the site of the camp (cantonment) of the Continental Army for 1782 – 1783, the final winter of the Revolutionary War. In 1782, George Washington created the Badge of Military Merit, the inspiration for today’s Purple Heart, and the following year officers met at the Cantonment to determine candidates for the award. In 1932, some of the nation’s very first Purple Hearts were presented to veterans of World War I on these same grounds. For more information about the museum or the opening ceremonies visit: http://nysparks.state.ny.us/heritage/purple_hrt.asp. To contact the hall call (845) 561-6577 or by mail: National Purple Heart Hall of Honor, New Windsor Cantonment State Historic Site, P.O. Box 207, Vails Gate, NY 12584-0207 [Source: Various Sources]

TRAINING WORKSHOP FOR VETERANS SERVICE OFFICERS/ADVOCATES: In honor of our veterans, the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration will offer free workshops for veteran’s service officers in several locations across the country during the week following Veterans Day.

Training will be conducted by senior managers at NPRC and will include a presentation on the history and holdings of the NPRC, how to order records, what to expect during the process, what to do if you get a response with which you are not satisfied, and related information. Presenters will also discuss numerous other military record collections held by the National Archives nationwide.

This is an excellent training opportunity for any kind of veterans’ advocate. It doesn’t matter whether you are with a state, county, or local veteran’s service office, or with the VFW, American Legion, AMVETS, Military Order of the Purple Heart, or any other national vet service organization. All who work toward promoting the rights of veterans will benefit from this program. Although the workshops are free, advance registration is required. To register, please contact us via email at: vsoregistration@nara.gov or call us toll free at (866) 406-2379.

Workshops will be offered as follows:
New York
201 Varick Street
12th Floor
New York, NY 10014
(Entrance on Houston Street, between Varick and Hudson)
Wednesday, November 15, 2006 10:00am – 2:00pm

NUMBER OF VETS SEEKING TREATMENT FOR STRESS DOUBLES: The number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans getting treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder nearly doubled from fall 2005 to this summer, but officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs say that isn’t necessarily bad news.

They believe the increase points to a growing awareness of the symptoms of PTSD and a larger willingness among young veterans to seek out help for the illness.

According to internal department data, the number of young veterans receiving PTSD treatment from VA hospitals and counseling centers rose from 20,394 patients in September 2005 to 38,144 patients in June 2006, an increase of 87 percent.

Hospital cases alone totaled 29,041 in June, up 82 percent from nine months earlier. The number of veterans who visited counseling centers more than doubled, from 4,467 to 9,103, over that same period. Dr. Ira Katz, VA deputy chief of patient mental health services, said at least some of that increase is due to the increasing number of veterans: The number of troops who have separated from the service since September 2002 grew to 588,923 this summer, up more than 150,000 from the previous year. Inevitably, any increase in veterans means more patients for the VA hospitals, he said. But Alfonso Batres, chief officer for the department’s readjustment services, says he thinks most of the jump in the number of cases is directly related to outreach efforts over the last few years.

Overall, the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans visiting VA centers for any type of counseling rose from 43,682 in September 2005 to 144,227 in June. The VA has been emphasizing stress disorders and their symptoms though public campaigns and information given to troops before they leave the military.
Both Katz and Batres said the department is working to add more counselors to its payroll to help deal with the increased workload, but they said the medical facilities are handling all of the current cases without significant problems. [Source: Stars and Stripes, 2 Nov 06]

MANHATTAN VA LAPTOP STOLEN: As reported this week, a laptop was stolen from the Manhattan VA Medical Center on September 6th and not reported to those veterans affected until late October. This theft affects some 1,600 veterans (including myself). Below is what was sent to me by a VA Public Affairs Officer. It basically says the same thing that was in the news stories I sent out the other day.

Here it is anyway:
– The VA Office of the Inspector General, FBI and NY Police Department were immediately notified and an investigation of the loss continues.
– There is no indication at this time that any of the veterans’ information has been breached. Affected veterans are being notified of the loss and have been provided phone numbers to request a free credit report.
– We are in the process of providing a comprehensive monitoring service and a VA Call Center has been established at 1-800-430-8262, Monday to Friday, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm to answer any questions.
– The protection of personal information and privacy is very important to VA New York Harbor Healthcare System and we deeply apologize for this loss. As the VA Office of Inspector General investigation is ongoing, we are not able to discuss any further information. [Source: NY VA PAO]

VA CARES UPDATE: I will post what was sent to me by Jerry Alperstein of the Jewish War Veterans concerning the third-round VA CARES LAP hearing held at St. Albans last month. I believe that his comments are dead on and if we do not stand up and make our voices heard, we will lose our say on St. Albans and have no one to blame but ourselves. Just because we saved the Manhattan and Brooklyn VAMC’s does not mean St. Albans will be saved, especially if we do nothing.

The information for St. Albans is at: http://www.va.gov/cares/locationSite/Site11.asp?VASite=11.

Here are Mr. Alperstein’s comments:
“Has the New York City Veteran’s Community abandoned the VA Saint Albans Primary and Extended Care Center? It certainly looked that way on October 19 at the VA CARES third-round Local Advisory Panel hearing at St. Albans. The LAP is in the middle of dealing with what to do with much of the 95-acre campus in addition to rebuilding the VA facility. The euphemism constantly being used is “re-using” which means renting.
Secretary Nicholson is taking this re-use issue seriously. He had his Special Assistant for VA CARES Jay Halpern at the hearing promoting the idea of private assisted-living housing for re-use; not veterans housing.
Mayor Bloomberg is also taking this re-use issue seriously. An aide to Deputy Mayor Walcott [once again] presented a proposal for a public school on the campus; again not for veterans. Where was the New York City Veteran’s Community?

The only local veterans-group leadership attending and testifying at the hearing was the Jewish War Veterans with its State Vice Commander and with its Legislative Committee Chair. [The American Legion had a Field Representative from its Washington, D.C., National Headquarters at the hearing].

The fourth and final hearing likely will be in December or in January. The New York City Veteran’s Community needs to be there in force to push for specific veterans-related re-use on the Saint Albans campus.
A proverbial fire needs to be lit under the veterans.”

VETERANS EVENTS IN NYC: The following is a list of events that are taking place throughout the five boro’s during the month of November. This list is not all inclusive and other events may be taking place throughout the city. Please pass this on to others.

November 1 – December 3, 2006 – The Staten Island Historical Society’s Historical Museum has opened its newest exhibit—entitled “Snapshots of Honor and Service”. The exhibition is a display of personal photographs from Staten Island Veterans taken while in service, either overseas or Stateside. The exhibit features local veterans in all branches of the military and includes photos from servicemen and women dating from the World War I era to the present day. Photographs from the Historical Society’s archives will also be included. This tribute to veterans will run from November 1 through December 3, 2006.

“Snapshots of Honor and Service” is a special exhibit being presented as part of the 150th Anniversary of the Staten Island Historical Society’s founding. It complements “Out of Fire and Valor Staten Island War Memorials,” photographed by Cal Snyder. In 23 photographs Snyder, a Marine Corps veteran, documents the drama and emotion of war memorials all over Staten Island. These tributes whether plaques, statues or plantings, tell stories of pride and sorrow that are integral to the history of Staten Island. For more information, please visit our website at: www.historicrichmondtown.org.

November 5, 2006 – The United Veterans Day Parade Committee is holding its 22nd Annual Veterans Day Parade at 12 PM at the corner of East Tremont and Lafayette Avenue in the Bronx. The parade will proceed east and end at Bicentennial Veterans’ Memorial Park where a ceremony will be held to honor all Veterans. The committee is looking for donations to help defray the cost of this year’s parade. If you can help them, please send donations to: The United Veterans Day Parade Committee of Greater New York, Inc., 728 Wilcox Avenue, Bronx, NY 10465. If you’re interested in volunteering or want to participate, call Pat Devine at (718) 823-1981.

November 6, 2006 – NY TIMES SALUTE OUR HEROES VETERANS JOB FAIR & CAREER EXPOâ„¢: Presented by The New York Times Job Market in partnership with leading veteran’s organizations and government agencies, Salute Our Heroesâ„¢ job fair and career expo will once again provide former servicemen and women and spouses of active-duty military personnel with unprecedented job opportunities and informative career seminars.

More than 200 local and national employers will have exhibits to recruit veterans and showcase employment opportunities. This event will take place from 11 AM – 4 PM at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. Pre-registration, a resume and proof of military service is required for admission. Make sure to attend this event with copies of your resume.

Pre-register at: http://www.nytimes.com/marketing/jobmarket/jobfair/saluteourheroes/

November 6, 2006 – Brooklyn College Veterans Day Program, Committee Veteran Students’ Organization and Veterans Affairs and Counseling Center presents: “Duty, Honor, Country, Forever” Annual Veterans Day Luncheon. This event will take place from 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM at Brooklyn College’s Gold and Maroon Room. This year’s keynote speaker will be Mr. Peter Addesso, USMC veteran. A brief ceremony will take place on the Quad at 1:30 PM. If you are interested in attending, please RSVP by calling (718) 951-5105/5106.

November 9, 2006 – Black Veterans for Social Justice, Inc. along with the Coalition for Veterans in Pain and Distress are having a Veterans Day Commemoration Ceremony from 11:30 AM to 1 PM at BVSJ’s office, 665 Willoughby Avenue (Between Troop Ave and Marcus Garvey Blvd) in Brooklyn. All are invited to attend. For further information on this event, contact Yani Gonzalez at (718) 852-6004 x 288 or Ricky Singh at (718) 852-6004 x 252.

November 10, 2006 – Three (3) Events in Staten Island. At 8:30 AM at the Staten Island Campus of St. John’s University there will be a Veterans Ceremony. At 10:30 AM there will be a VFW Veterans Ceremony at the Oceanview Cemetery at the WWI Memorial. Also at 10:30 AM, the American Legion will have its Annual Veterans Day Ceremony at the Staten Island Mall, Center Court. For more information, contact Lee Covino at: LCovino@statenislandusa.com.

November 10, 2006 – The Museum of Jewish Heritage – A Living Memorial to the Holocaust (36 Battery Place, Battery Park City) is offering free admission to all veterans. The museum is open from 10 AM to 3 PM. Visitors to the museum on Veteran’s Day will have an opportunity to view the exhibition: Ours To Fight For: American Jews in the Second World War. This will be the last chance to see this exhibit as it finishes at the end of this year. For more information please call Abby Spilka at (646) 437-4333 or visit: http://www.ourstofightfor.org/index.jsp.

November 10, 2006 – The Friends of the Vietnam Plaza cordially invite you to join them in a Presentation of History. The event will take place at 12:30 PM at the Vietnam Veterans Plaza, 55 Water Street in Manhattan. The unveiling of Vietnam History panels will honor Medal of Honor Recipient Father Vincent Capodanno, Chaplain, US Navy and Private First Class Dan Bullock, US Marine Corps, the youngest serviceman killed in Vietnam.

November 10, 2006 – Queens College invites everyone to the dedication of the World War II Memorial Plaza in the Quad at 2 PM. All veterans from World War II are especially encouraged to attend. For more information contact (718) 997-3600.

November 10, 2006 – NY General Karl S. Day Chapter of the Marine Corps Reserve Association Annual Birthday Party. This event will take place from 6 PM – 9 PM at the Playwright Tavern & Restaurant, 202 West 49th Street. The Dress Code is Business Dress or in Uniform. Please – NO T-Shirts, Sweats shirts or the like. We will have a short ceremony of respect and the annual USMC Birthday Cake. If you are interested in attending or would like more information, contact, W. Alexander Pas, President, NY Chapter MCRA at: USMCOPS@webtv.net.

November 11, 2006 – The Metropolitan Museum of Art is honoring veterans on Veterans Day by offering every veteran and one guest FREE admission to the museum from 9:30 AM to 9 PM. A tour of the Museum entitled: “The Art of War” has been designed especially for Veteran’s Day. There will be a welcoming table for veterans in the Great Hall where staff will greet veterans and their guest. For more information, visit the museum’s web site at: www.metmuseum.org or call (212) 570-3931.

November 11, 2006 – The Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg is having a Breakfast Reception in honor of Veteran’s Day at Gracie Mansion from 8:00 AM to 9:30 AM. Gracie Mansion is located at East End Avenue and 88th Street. This event is by invite only.

November 11, 2006 – NYC Veterans Day Parade. The parade will start at the Eternal Light Monument in Madison Square Park with a Wreath Laying Ceremony. The parade kicks off at 11 AM after the Wreath Laying Ceremony. The parade will commence up 5th Avenue from 24th to 56th Street. This year’s parade will pay tribute to more than 8,000 New York City employees; veterans working in the private sector and in State and Federal service who have worn and continue to wear the uniform of our country. For more information and to register for the parade, call the Veteran’s Day Parade Hotline at (212) 693-0157.

November 12, 2006 – The US Army Field Band and Soldiers’ Chorus will be performing a free concert starting at 3 PM at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, 2900 Campus Road in Brooklyn, NY. For free ticket information call (718) 951-4500.

November 12, 2006 – Veteran’s Day Memorial Mass. The mass will be held at 9:30 AM at The Church of Saint Teresa in Casteleton Corners (Victory BLVD and Slosson Ave). The Mass will honor our fallen soldiers, our soldiers currently serving and their families. All are welcome to attend. Light refreshments to follow service in lower church hall. To submit a soldier’s name for prayer for the service, please contact Chaplain Fr. James Collins at 718-442-5412 or via e-mail: priests@saintteresasi.org or Amy Maniscalco at: amy.maniscalco@us.army.mil.

November 12, 2006 – The Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. cordially invites all veterans to their Annual Dinner Dance from 4 to 9 PM at Antun’s Caterers which is located at 96-43 Springfield Boulevard in Queens Village, NY. The Association will be celebrating the 231st Birthday of the US Marine Corps. The Association is asking for a donation of $70 dollars per person for this semi-formal event. For more information, please contact the Chapter President, Master Gunnery Sergeant James Carr, USMC at (212) 267-3318.

November 13, 2006 – Veterans Day Presentation: Pearl Harbor Remembered. In honor of Veterans Day, the Office of the Dean of Arts & Sciences at New York City College of Technology is hosting a special presentation, “Pearl Harbor Remembered,” on Monday, November 13, 2006, from 10:00 to 11:15 a.m., in the College’s Atrium Amphitheater, 300 Jay Street (at Tillary), Downtown Brooklyn. The presentation will feature a survivor of the December 7, 1941, attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, who will speak on what it was like to be there and how being there changed his life forever. Share in this moving tribute to all those who gave their lives on that fateful day that marked America’s entrance into World War II. For additional information, contact Dean Pamela Brown at (718) 260-5008.

November 14, 2006 – The Samaritan Village Veterans Program is having a “Celebration of Art” – a showing of original artwork by residents of the Samaritan Village Veterans Program at the Citibank Financial Center, 399 Park Avenue (between 53rd & 54th Street) from 6:30 PM to 9 PM. For more information, please call (718) 206-2000 x 245.

November 15, 2006 – ALL HANDS CALL. To all New York City Marines, Former Marines and Friends of Marines (veterans), please join us at this All Hands Call which will take place at the Turtle Bay Bar and Grill, 987 2nd Ave in New York City. This event will start at 7:30 PM and we will also be posting a collection box for those who wish to support the 2006 “Toys for Tots” program with a new, unwrapped toy or monetary gift. For more information about this legendary event, contact GySgt. John Jamison at (212) 784-0160.

November 16, 2006 – The NYC Council’s Veterans Committee has a meeting scheduled for 10 AM at 250 Broadway, 14th Floor hearing room. The hearing agenda will be Oversight on Civil Service Opportunities for Veterans.

November 16, 2006 – The School of Visual Arts is having a Symposium entitled: “Voices of War: The Artist’s Perspective.” The symposium will take place at 7 PM in Room 502 at the School of Visual Arts, 209 East 23rd Street, NY (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues). For more information, visit the symposium website at: www.svaphilosopher.com/VoicesinWartime.html.

November 17, 2006 – The US Army Band “Pershing’s Own” will perform various works at Manhattan’s Historic Trinity Church, which is located at Broadway and Wall Street. The Concert will start at 1 PM and is FREE and open to the public. For more information, call the Trinity Church Wall Street concert hotline at (212) 602-0747.

November 17, 2006 – The City University of New York (CUNY) is having a ceremony and reception to honor veterans at CUNY and to introduce the University’s newly enhanced services for the men and women who serve us all. This event will take place at 3 PM at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 899 Tenth Avenue at 59th Street. For more information or if you are interested in attending (RSVP is no later than November 13), please contact (212) 290-5609.

November 18, 2006 – The Northfield Local Development Corporation in Staten Island is having a Veterans Event at Veterans Park in Port Richmond. All are invited to attend. For more information, please contact (718) 442-7351.

November 18, 2006 – The US Army Band “Pershing’s Own” is having a second concert entitled “Liberty for All” that will take place at 2 PM at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. The concert is free but tickets are required and are on a first come, first serve basis. Only four (4) tickets per family are permitted. Tickets ordered will be held at the will-call table the day of the event and will be available for pick-up between 1 PM and 1:45 PM. Tickets NOT picked up after 1:45 PM will be turned over to patrons in the stand-by waiting line. For more information or to obtain tickets, please call the Army Public Affairs Office at (212) 784-0115.

November 20, 2006 – The NYC Comptroller, William B. Thomson is having his annual Veterans Recognition Ceremony in the Council Chambers at City Hall. The ceremony runs from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM. All are invited to attend.

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Like this time last year, I have only two things to say. One: Don’t forget to VOTE on November 7th! (Make sure your voice is heard). Two: Thank you ALL for your service in defending this great country of ours. My God bless you all and may you have a wonderful Veterans Day and a wonderful Thanksgiving. Now, I would like to quickly vent and say how pissed off I am at having my personal data stolen from the Manhattan VAMC in September and finding out in November. I would also like to thank the Mayor’s Office for officially blacklisting me from the Mayor’s Veteran Breakfast at Gracie Mansion on Veterans Day. I guess I deserve it though – I have been saying that we get nothing but events from them anyway. LOL In any case, if you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at: bjoe7@hotmail.com. As always, please pass this newsletter on to others. Take care and until next month….

Joseph Bello, NYC Veterans Advocate