Joining Forces with Military Families on this Memorial Day

Today, we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of the United States. But what does it mean for the rest of us? What is the role of a grateful nation - grateful for the service of those who have fallen and to those on whom the burden is the greatest - our military families?

Our military families go through so much. Every acknowledgment that we know they are there, every offer to help them in any way we can, anything any of us can do to help a servicemember re-adjust to civilian life are all ways we can serve. That is what the Joining Forces is all about. An effort launched by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden. They remind us that even though not all of us will join the military, all of us can serve by serving the families of those who lay their lives on the line.



Let's start by going to JoiningForces.gov and sending a message of thanks to our military families. This is such an important effort for the families, as you have seen in the video above. The Bidens are themselves a military family, with Beau Biden (also Delaware's Attorney General), serving in the Delaware Army National Guard. Beau Biden also served in Iraq.

In his Memorial Day address at the Arlington National Cemetery, President Obama reminded Americans of the importance of the families who serve:
Our nation owes a debt to its fallen heroes that we can never fully repay. But we can honor their sacrifice, and we must. We must honor it in our own lives by holding their memories close to our hearts, and heeding the example they set. And we must honor it as a nation by keeping our sacred trust with all who wear America’s uniform, and the families who love them; by never giving up the search for those who’ve gone missing under our country’s flag or are held as prisoners of war; by serving our patriots as well as they serve us -- from the moment they enter the military, to the moment they leave it, to the moment they are laid to rest.
One reason I am so proud of this President is because he does not simply say those words. He, Vice President Biden, Michelle Obama and Dr. Biden exemplify serving our patriots as well as they serve us. President Obama's achievements for our veterans and military families include:
BROAD POLICY:
  1. Initiated a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses. ref, ref
  2. Improved benefits for veterans. ref, ref, ref, ref
  3. Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development . ref
  4. Worked to clear the backlog of veterans claims and streamline benefits to those who served. ref
FUNDING:
  1. Provided for the expenses of families of to be at Dover AFB when fallen soldiers arrive.ref
  2. Donated 250K of Nobel prize money to Fisher House. ref
  3. Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009. ref
  4. Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009. ref
TARGETED ACTIONS:
  1. Medal of Honor Commemorative Coin Act of 2009. ref
  2. Promoted a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the Women Airforce Service Pilots (“WASP”). ref
  3. Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information. ref , ref, ref , ref
  4. Military Spouses Residency Relief Act. ref
  5. Improved basic housing allowance for military personnel. ref
  6. Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010. ref
  7. Provided minimum essential health care coverage by Veteran’s Affairs. ref
  8. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans. ref
  9. Korean War Veterans Recognition Act. ref
  10. Blinded Veterans Association. ref
  11. Major Charles R. Soltes, Jr., O.D. Department of Veterans Affairs Blind Rehabilitation Center. ref
  12. Improved access for Veterans to receive PTSD treatment. ref
  13. Green Vet Initiative to promote environmental jobs for veterans. ref
Today's commemoration is not about the President. It is about those who have served, those who have given the last measure of devotion for our country, and about the rest of us having the opportunity in small ways to serve those who serve us. But it cannot just be today. President Obama and his administration have worked tirelessly to improve the lives of veterans and military families. They deserve nothing less.

Before I end this post, for every member of this small TPV community who has served our country in uniform, and for every member of this community who is the member of a military family, thank you, thank you, thank you from this grateful citizen.