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In honor of Veterans’ Day

Because today is Veterans’ Day, I thought it would be interesting to investigate some recent government publications from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. Here are a few things I learned by searching for “veterans” in the Catalog of Government Publications:

  • Merchant Mariners who served during World War II were not granted full veterans’ status until January 17, 1988. Legislation has been proposed to offer additional compensation to this group of veterans. (See here for the Congressional hearing where I first learned of this. For more information, you can also see the House bill, the related Senate bill, and an additional House bill that specifically addresses Merchant Mariners that were awarded the Purple Heart.)
  • Roughly 30% of people who have served in the military and have signed up to receive educational benefits as accorded by the GI Bill never take advantage of these benefits. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs is working to expand these educational benefits to include a wider variety of programs – including “short-term, high-cost” educational programs. I gather that, in the recent past, these short-term, high-cost programs have focused on high tech. One of the points brought up in a hearing held last May is that there should be support for educational programs in other high-demand fields – for example, health care .

From what I’ve read, it seems that the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is chronically underfunded. One of the issues brought up in the Merchant Mariners hearing is the question of where the funding will come from in order to compensate this group of veterans (as well as other groups who contributed in World War II, but have not yet been recognized). Since our discussion over the last several days has oft turned to the discussion of civic engagement, I’d like to encourage Free Government Information readers to advocate for or become involved with veterans’ affairs. Let’s honor our veterans with action, and not just words.

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