A Memorial Day message from VA Secretary Wilkie



Each year, on Memorial Day, we take time to remember those who gave their lives in service to our country. At the Department of Veterans Affairs, we take great pride that our cemeteries are fitting shrines to the sacrifices of all of those who fell in battle. On Monday, May 27, I urge everyone to observe this National Day of Remembrance and honor the sacrifices of those who served principles greater than themselves.

In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.” That cause is the enduring principle that freedom is the birthright of all men and women.

From the American Revolution, through the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korea, through Vietnam and Desert Storm, to Afghanistan and Iraq, more than a million Americans have paid the ultimate price to secure the blessings of liberty for our Nation. As we go about our duties providing America’s living Veterans the care, benefits, and services they have earned, let us also remember the men and women who gave their lives for our freedom.

It is my privilege this year to join all Veterans, and all my friends at VA, in honoring the service and sacrifice of our fallen—those who remain forever young in our memories. God bless their memory, your service, and our great Nation.

Author

Robert Wilkie

The Honorable Robert L. Wilkie was sworn in to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs on July 30, 2018. He also served as the Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs from March 28, 2018 to May 29, 2018.

Before confirmation as VA Secretary, Mr. Wilkie served Secretary James Mattis as his Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness—the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for Total Force Management as it relates to readiness, National Guard and Reserve component affairs, health affairs, training, and personnel requirements and management, including equal opportunity, morale, welfare, recreation, and the quality of life for military families.

Comments

  1. Shelley Davis    

    I can’t imagine the fight on our hands when my husband retires after 30 years of service in 4 1/2 years. His body is so beat up, he’s been deployed multiple times, he was on those burn pits, he was airborne….there’s a nice size VA hospital right here where we are, but it’s had some bad press, and rightly so!!!!! Our country is so totally messed up….politicians more worried about winning the vote and having control of the people than they are the ones that protect their criminal, crooked hind-ends!!!

  2. Robert H Rede    

    Thank you for making 200K ineligible to receive their benefits and in the meantime the care that we, veterans receive is driven by costs, otherwise keep it at minimum cost even if the veteran has to suffer… I watched my father go into an early grave due to Agent Orange. In the meantime PROTUS shirked his duty when called!

  3. Richard G McHenry    

    Thank you for your beautiful comment. I honor and respect your service and what your family has done for our country.
    You are receiving this reply from a Marine Captain who served in Vietnam.

  4. USN Vet    

    We will not forget. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

  5. Ed Davis    

    Dear Secretary Wilkie

    I have been thinking about contacting you for some time now and have not been sure to how approach the subject I am writing about. That subject is the Less than Honorable Discharge classification. It is my understanding that this type of discharge impacts many vets, my son being one. Is there any recourse for these vets to reinstate their good name. This seems to be a life sentence if there is no way to make amends. Even criminal felons can pay there debt to society. Is there some way my son can get his good name back. He would likely reenlist if he could. He was involved in an arrest for a weapons possession charge in San Diego off base and was exonerated in court, but not until after being discharged. My son served for three years, did a deployment with the 11th MEU and even was selected for Special Ops training, but at 20 years of age he made a big mistake one night. I write to you because he would not know how to go about this. Can you offer us any hope for our son? My father was a big part of his desire to become a Marine, as my Dad served in the 101st Airborne in WWII. He jumped at DDay and Holland and fought in the Battle of the Bulge at Bastogne. My son needs a way to fix this mistake. Please let me know what, if anything, he can do about this mistake he made. I guess thinking about this 75th Anniversary of DDay prompted me to write you. I’m sure you have more urgent things on hand, but if you can tell me whom I should contact I will do that promptly. Thank you and God Bless the work you are doing for our Vets.
    Sincerely
    W.Edmond “Ed” Davis

  6. James Palmatier    

    Thank you sir,
    I am a Navy man, who served during the Vietnam War, aboard the USS Cromwell, DE 1014, then the USS Intrepid CVS 11, and my first Duty station was Roosevelt Roads Naval Air Station, Puerto Rico.
    My time, my service were my duty. I learned so much about life, and saw many countries, and met many people. It was an education in itself. Many of my brother veterans did not make it home, some were forever disabled, some came home but were never right.
    I am proud to have served, I am honored to be alive, and I remember those who went before and gave the ultimate sacrifice for our Country which has always been great,
    Thank you for the great changes you are making, in our Healthcare, and lives.
    God Bless us all, and let us never forget those who are no longer here.

  7. Jimmy Cembrano    

    76 yrs old … Thx to our Veterans for serving…. Pls. help me get reinstated into the VA Hospital /Med. Center. USA jobs agency found my more than 100 applications “ineligibles” CLS, BSMT, MSMT, Supervisory Position. Believe it or not all over the country USA. So disappointed that I can’t help our veterans, working with my technical expertise – skill in management. Thanks for your time and Have A Great Day!

    Sincerely,

    Jimmy Cembrano, CLS, BSMT, MSMT
    (redacted)
    Laguna Woods, CA 92637

    Note: my sons retired from USAF

  8. Margeé Morris    

    They do not help all of the Vietnam Vets that are dying from GBM brain cancer mor their widows left behind.

  9. Arturo Mendoza    

    I have the same problem I go to VA 8890 Mission Valley,Ca and have been fighting for my benefits since 2010. I have gone to Congressmen Juan Vargas in Chula Vista his office has been wonderful very professional. But VA keeps playing dumb. What do we as ex War Veterans have to do. Very hurt with the system.

  10. Mark Horning    

    The VA healthcare system is the finest. I
    Have not had any problems and receive excellent care and respect. The healthcare employees are professional and treat you with courtesy. VA healthcare does not run like M Donald’s grab and go. Be patient, they will work you into the availability. Give 30 days for scheduling. The VA wii take excellent care of you.
    USMC retired, Semper Fi.

  11. Robert L. Beckman, PhD    

    Mr. Secretary. With your background, surely you understand the implications of so many untreated brain wounds on force readiness, family unity, and mental health. It’s a good time to appeal to you to utilize the Mission Act to enforce the use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) for TBI/PTSD/Concussion

    1. We face an epidemic of suicide, and brain-related wounds afflicting service members’ mental and physical health. Millions of civilians, athletes, fire, rescue, first responders are also affected. The Concussion/CTE crisis is trickling down to high schools.
    2. Billions of $$$ are being spent on research and unproven even hurtful drugs and devices that exacerbate the problems in too many cases. Veteran deaths through prescribed overdoses are increasing.
    3. DOD/VA/Army conducted HBOT studies producing DATA that show HBOT works: it is safe and effective.
    4. Business-as-usual protocols negatively affect over 800,000 post-9/11 wounded [and an equal number of Vietnam veterans] and their families while BILLIONS of $$$ are expended on drugs and fruitless psychological and other unproven interventions. Research with new drugs, LSD and psychotropics continues.
    5. The cost to the wounded: interminable wait times, mis-diagnoses, drugs and semi-permanent welfare status, families in crises, wives with secondary TBI/PTSD, degraded quality of life.
    6. The cost to the nation: 20+ suicides a day, hollowing out of Special Operations forces, $60,000 cost/per year for each untreated brain injury, and corrosive effects of wounded who are told: “There is no treatment to help you, only psychopharmacology and cognitive psychotherapy.” The NFL and the NCAA brag of a Protocol that does nothing to heal the wound to the brain. It is all about “watchful waiting,” rest, reaching milestones and hoping symptoms go away.
    8. Yet an active treatment does exist: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy when used by the TreatNOW Coalition and multiple clinics across the US and world. We have peer-reviewed positive scientific and clinical evidence in over 6,100 cases that HBOT helps heal wounded brains and returns patients to a life denied them by DOD/VA/Army that will not talk about, or even use or pay for HBOT treatment for TBI/PTSD/PCS/Concussion. The Mission Act is useful to brain wounded service members only when you demand that it be used to pay for treaments in clinics that provide the service that the VA cannot and will not.

    These videos give more insight into successes and science:

    Joe Namath, football http://tinyurl.com/kflu9up
    MSGT Scott Roessler [Ranger] http://tinyurl.com/hf3czmw
    Joe Delamielleure (Buffalo Bills) http://tinyurl.com/m5q8ued
    GnySgt Rotenberry & wife http://tinyurl.com/gpzpxgy
    MAJ Ben Richards http://tinyurl.com/jts2jy3
    CAPT Smotherman/Rep John Bennett http://tinyurl.com/lvcf22r
    The Honorable Patt Maney (BG, USA) http://tinyurl.com/m97x4jp
    Brian Fleury – Hockey Player http://tinyurl.com/hefs478
    Robin Read, Stroke Patient http://tinyurl.com/gv2zpkl
    Latest Ben Richards video http://tinyurl.com/hd9ahcd
    Roy Jefferson https://bit.ly/2MDg1JV
    Dr Daphne Denham on Concussion https://tinyurl.com/ybldktqn.

    The TreatNOW Coalition is primarily veterans working pro bono to stop the suicide epidemic and restore the brain injured to a quality of life denied them by conventional approaches to concussions and brain injuries.

    The TreatNOW Coalition is supported by numerous clinics and physicians worldwide. The Coalition has built a collaborative network among civilian Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)-capable clinics which have, on a largely pro bono basis, successfully treated over 6,100 TBI/PTSD Veteran and civilian casualties. Using HBOT and a variety of safe and effective, alternative therapies, clinicians are actively treating and helping to heal underlying brain damage that is ignored with current, passive “watchful waiting” and drug-based TBI/PTSD/Concussion protocols. And patients are able to quit taking most of their drugs. Based on ten years of data, some believe that HBOT is a cure for suicidal ideation.

    TreatNOW has had dramatic, life-altering success returning each of the fully-treated patients to a quality of life far beyond what they could receive from traditional or DOD medicine. A significant number were returned to active military duty. Under TreatNOW, this scientific work will continue to give hope to the hundreds of thousands of brain-injured patients with TBI/Concussion and/or PTSD. Neither service members or athletes or citizens have to settle for a “new normal” along with a life of addictive dependence on prescribed drugs that come with warnings against suicidal risk. This is not the Quality of Life they deserve nor what safe and effective evidence-based medicine can provide for them.

    The TreatNOW civilian research and treatment effort to this point has been largely self-funded. It has concluded an observational study of over 30 patients, all treated successfully. This scientific evidence demonstrates once again the role of hyperbaric oxygen in active treatment of wounds to the brain, restoring function and brain health to wounded who were told they would have to settle for a “new normal,” in effect a degraded quality of life.

    The TreatNOW Mission is to immediately and urgently identify and treat veterans and others suffering from Concussion/TBI/PTSD,and to alleviate pain and withdrawal symptoms for substance abusers. The TreatNOW Goal is to ensure that over 800,000 Iraq and Afghanistan brain injured veterans and active duty service members, along with all citizens, get insured access to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy and other proven alternative medical treatments for their Invisible Wounds. But immediate compassionate care is needed for the most at-risk wounded veterans. Currently, these steps forward will likely come only from the private sector. With funding from the Mission Act, the Coalition’s assistance could lead to treatment of Reserve and National Guard servicemen and women in states who have started their own treatment programs, beginning now.

    http://www.treatnow.org

  12. Larry m alderink    

    Really don’t get good care at nashville va hospital especially on my eyes i am 100% and am glad i have Medicare or i would be dead it only took 3 years to find my heart blockages but took to long to try and fix i went to a private doctor and was pit in surgery right away and the eye clinic was the worst because of va using trainiess it hurt more then helped seeing a specilist and 3 surgerys to correct the problems

  13. Robert Teach Blackburn III    

    I served in the USMC as a officer from 1974 to 1985 (Captain) and with a honorable discharge. I have been told by the VA that I do not rate my Veteran Benefits due my gross income was to high. Please explain to me what me and my wife’s gross income has to do with my benefits?
    I have written to Paul Ryan when he was in office and Marco Rubio but with no return response. Please give me a a justifiable answer to this and what must I do to receive what I was promised by my country.

    1. Stan Clark    

      If you had 30 days or more active service at Camp Lejeune, NC during your time on active duty, you should be eligible. Also if you were in Vietnam you would be eligible. Otherwise you would need to have a service connected disability or be a MOH or Purple Heart Recipient or a POW. Congress changed the eligibility criteria back in 2004. Thanks.

      1. Victor Sellers    

        Stan,
        I know what you are saying, but the reality is different. I was medivac’d out of Vietnam after 21 days in the hospital broke out with Chloracne and swelled up and other issues like heart palpitations, abdominal pain, bloody urine, liver abnormalities, but because the Army doctors had no idea what caused my conditions, they said it was an “Urticaria secondary to Chloroquine Ingestion”. I never had a reaction to Chloroquine, but my records have been withheld to this day. They were stored in a Vault in Neosho, Mo. for litigation. Myself and family were denied all service connection and all benefits, when I should have been medically retired with 100% pay and medical. My disabilities are documented so the records proving them was withheld and still are.

        1. Shelley Davis    

          This is all CRAP!!!!! My father-in-law only made it out of Marine boot camp, never even got sent to Vietnam, (b/c they discharged him for some supposed “mysterious” medical issue, rolling eyes) doesn’t have anything service related (he never really served) and he’s getting VA benefits….which I think is wrong…..

  14. John Sierra    

    Thank you to all the families who sacrificed their loved ones so all could enjoy our freedom. My Dad, Uncle Jess and Uncle Ray served in the Army. When it was my turn I volunteered and joined the Army. Proud to be an American of this great Nation. We must never forget why we fight for this great country of ours. May God Bless America.

  15. Jennifer Doerflinger Hill    

    Thank you, Sir. My family has served our Country as far back as I’ve been able to discover. I may, therefore, rightly assume, their love for this great Nation.
    My Mother’s brother, Harold, served in the USMC, as did my father, Everett R Doerflinger, a Marine at Iwo Jima, & my cousin, Ches, another Marine, who came home full of shrapnel from Vietnam.
    I wanted to join the USMC, but my Dad discouraged me. This & the fact that our area had no Marine Corps recruiter, led me to join the USAF.
    I’d hate to forget my paternal cousin, Jim, a submarines, who just met up w his confreres of 40 years, at a Reunion in Branson, MO.
    To top it off, our granddaughter recently took her Oath, joining the USAF & will be following her dreams upon her high school graduation.
    God bless the USA.

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