On the first day of November, VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin joined President Donald J. Trump in the Oval Office for the signing of a proclamation that established November as Veterans and Military Families Month.
VA was proud to honor Veterans and families by holding observances at VA facilities across the country throughout the month of November. As Veterans and families attended these events, many noticed the widespread improvements and reforms VA has made such as: improved scheduling; and the modernization of outdated facilities, business practices and aging infrastructure. All these improvements contribute to improving the care and services for Veterans, as well as their experience while visiting VA.
The following is a look back at some of the coverage and events across VA during Veterans and Military Families Month.
- For those not able to attend Veterans Day ceremony, Instagram was the place to be as pictures and videos poured in from across the nation.
- The latest episode of “The American Veteran,” VA’s video magazine, highlighted VA-centric events with curated stories from around the country.
- VA re-branded its podcast with the new title “Borne the Battle” to reflect VA’s mission and introduced a new “Benefits Breakdown” episode. The episode will be released each Monday to provide insight on resources, benefits and programs administered by VA. Eleven episodes have been released, including six during Veterans Day week: Sebastian Junger, Nate Boyer and Secretary Shulkin.
- A Twitter chat for the Great American Smokeout provided information on the importance of quitting smoking as well as resources to help Veterans kick the habit.
- VA partnered with Got Your 6 for StorytellersX events from around the country.
- VA added Snapchat to its digital portfolio, recognizing that 85 percent of Snapchatters in the U.S. are under age 35, a key demographic that includes nearly half of all active-duty service members and more than 1.9 million Veterans. At the same time, half of Snapchat’s daily new users in the U.S. are over age 25, making the platform an increasingly useful tool for reaching more Veterans, their families and friends.
- Two long-awaited announcements came toward the end of the month-long celebration:
- The White House VA Hotline, which became 24-hour operational in mid-October, is almost entirely staffed by Veterans or the family member of a Veteran. “The White House VA Hotline provides our nation’s Veterans with a direct, dedicated contact line that allows them to interact with highly trained, live agents to answer their needs and concerns,” said Secretary Shulkin. “Since the initial launch of the hotline in June, we listened to our Veterans, who indicated that they prefer speaking with other Veterans and Veteran family members, and we adjusted our hiring based on that feedback.”
- The Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is now available to Veterans with honorable service. The card will provide proof of military service and may be accepted by retailers in lieu of the standard DD-214 form to obtain promotional discounts and other services where offered to Veterans. To request a VIC, Veterans must visit gov, click on “Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card” on the bottom left of the page sign in or create an account.