When my husband Bob went to Iraq to cover the war, I was worried but didn’t think of it the way families of our soldiers do. After all, he was there as the anchor of ABC News.
In 2009, Blue Shield of California Foundation learned of the increasingly high rates and devastating impacts of domestic violence among military families. Given the incredible stress these families had endured after more than a decade at war, the findings were difficult to hear, but not surprising. Thankfully, we were in a position to do more than just listen. Through our work to end domestic violence in California, we saw an opportunity to make a difference for our servicemen and women.
I was a foundation officer and government official in the White House and Pentagon before I became a military family member…before there was a war. Before the Marine I married deployed to combat three times. Before I knew neighbors who faced the knock of a Chaplain and a Casualty Assistance Officer in dress uniform. Before my tenth grader attended ten schools.
Building on last April’s historic Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge convening, next week on May 12, the Council will host an event in Washington, D.C. to mark the first anniversary of the Impact Pledge and the launch of the Council’s Veterans Philanthropy Exchange. More than 160 grantmakers, veterans and military family organizations, policymakers, service providers and others will gather to laud the new pledges for 2015.
As a nation we cherish the value of service. Few among us take this spirit to heart more than our men and women in uniform. Coming from all walks of life, they join forces to safeguard our country.
The Derby Area Veterans Memorial – Walk of Freedom began in 2004 as a dream.
The largest influx of veterans since the end of World War II will return to the workforce and college in the next several years. The surge is the result of military downsizing following wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and steep cuts to the Pentagon’s budget. As the nation heads into the Memorial Day weekend and seeks lasting ways to honor military service, we have some suggestions.
Living in Anchorage, Alaska, I am reminded on a daily basis that freedom is not free. As an important part of our community, the Army, Air Force, and Coast Guard have a significant presence that transcends their service to our nation. Combined with the very high number of veterans who make our state their home after leaving the service, active-duty members and their families provide significant civic and business leadership as well as volunteer expertise. This strengthens our quality of life in Anchorage and other places across the state. Over the past decade, our Alaska-based service members have been been regularly deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. These deployments impact the service member, their families, and the broader community. This same scenario has played out in many communities across the country.
A lot can happen in a year. Twelve months ago, Osama bin Laden was the most wanted man in the world and “occupy” was just a word, not a movement. During the next year, one million men and women will leave the active duty military service and return to civilian life with their family and friends across America. They will become part of the two million men and women who have served the nation over the past decade of war.