Serving Those Who Served: Libraries and Veterans

Veteran waving helloBackground.  On July 4, 2019, USA Today published an article in its Money section:  “There are 18.2 million veterans in the U.S. Which state is home to the most of them?”

  • Veterans comprise 7.3% of the civilian population over the age of 18.
  • Veterans have a higher median income than nonveterans and lower unemployment and poverty rates than those who did not serve in the military.
  • Veterans have a higher percentage of people with a disability than those who did not serve.
  • Four states where the number of veterans as a share of the adult population exceeds 10%: Alaska, Montana, Virginia, and Wyoming.
  • Except for Montana, these states are home to one of America’s largest military cities.
  • The states with the lowest share of veterans are mostly on either coast – New York (4.5%), New Jersey (4.6%), California (5.2%), and Massachusetts (5.5%).
  • The three most populous states in the nation have the three largest veteran populations: California (1.56 million), Texas (1.46 million), and Florida (1.44 million). These states are also home to some of America’s largest military bases.

Five ways public libraries can help veterans

  1. Help veterans find out what benefits the federal government, the state government, and local government provides.
  2. In addition to providing free computers and resume books for all job seekers, set up a section for military/veterans re-entering civilian job markets.  Which potential employers make an effort to seek out veterans?  What military skills are transferable to civilian jobs?
  3. Offer meeting spaces for veteran support groups like PTFS sufferers, caring for Wounded Warriors, veterans seeking to reconnect with others after missing the close-knit camaraderie of the military.
  4. Set up a Veteran’s Resource Center with information on pre/post-deployment issues;  financial/educational, health information; relationship issues, etc.
  5. House a Veteran’s Job Fair, or a meeting where Emotional  Support Animals are available.Veterans

Veterans Connect@the Library

California has a successful state-wide program where the California Department of  Veteran’s Affairs (CalVet) partners with some public libraries for veterans

to learn about state and federal education, employment, housing, health, disability and other benefits that may be available to you and your family.

These libraries offer “one-on-one consultation with trained volunteers, many of whom are veterans themselves or who have had professional experience assisting veterans, or just drop by and check out the collection of library books and other library materials selected especially for the veteran.”

San Diego is home to several Naval and Marine Corps bases, as well as home to hundreds of veterans.  The San Diego Public Library has Veteran’s Resource Centers at the Central Library downtown as well as the Point  Loma/Hervey Branch.  The website provides information about these Centers.

Veteran--Change must come.

Reblog: Pew Report: The American Veteran Experience and the Post -9/11 Generation


veterans honoring

In September 2019, the Pew Research Center released this report examining trends among the experiences of American military veterans, comparing veterans whose service began after 9/11 to those whose service ended prior to 9/11. The report looked at a variety of aspects of the veteran experience, including deployment and combat trends, how well veterans feel their training prepared them for military service and civilian life, and how both veterans and the general public view those who have served in the military. In addition to similarities, the study found several disparities between pre- and post-9/11 generations of veterans. For example, those who served after 9/11 were significantly more likely to be deployed and see combat than those who served prior to 9/11. Interested readers can view and download the full 38-page report at the link above, where they will also find multiple colorful graphs and the topline survey results. This report was authored by Kim Parker, Ruth Igielnik, Amanda Barroso, and Anthony Cilluffo. It is based on two surveys of US adults, with one survey consisting of 1,284 US military veterans and the other consisting of 1,084 US non-veterans. These surveys were conducted between May 14 and June 3, 2019.

North-easterly: Sidetracked by poppies…

Poppies have become the symbol of the Armistice (end of the First World War.)  Most of us are only familiar with the red poppies a la Flanders field.

There are other poppies for groups from killed service animals (horses, carrier pigeons, dogs, cats, canaries), noncombatants such as ambulance drivers and nurses, and people who today would be considered PTSD or shell shocked but were shot as cowards then.

via North-easterly: Sidetracked by poppies…

Happy 244th Birthday, Marines!

USMC LogoThe Marines turn 244 years old on November 10.  Did you know that Marine Corps birthdays are celebrated around the world (since Marines guard our embassies)?

From the Marine Corps Community Service

Over the years the annual Birthday Ball grew, taking on a life of its own. In 1952, Commandant Gen. Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr. formalized the cake-cutting ceremony and other traditional observances. Current Marine Corps policy mandates that the first piece of cake must be presented to the oldest U.S. Marine present and passed to the youngest Marine representing the passing of tradition from generation to generation. Among the many such mandates is the reading of the Commandant’s birthday message to the Corps. Like the U.S. Marine Corps itself, the annual Birthday Ball has evolved from modest origins to the dignified function it is today. On 10 November, regardless of where Marines are stationed or deployed, you will always hear “Happy Birthday Marine.”


Reserve Marines from Company F, 2nd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, bound into the town of “Ridwaniyah,” a live-fire urban warfare training facility in a remote section of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, Calif., on Aug. 14. Official USMC artwork by Sgt. Kristopher Battles

Marines have been called many things besides Marines.   Here are some of the more historical and socially acceptable:


Leatherneck:  Goes back to the leather stock or neckpiece, which was part of the Marine uniform from 1775 to 1875. The leather bands around their throats were intended to ensure that Marines kept their heads erect.

Devil Dogs:  In the Belleau Wood fighting in 1918, the Germans received a thorough indoctrination in the fighting ability of the Marines. Fighting through supposedly impenetrable woods and capturing supposedly untakeable terrain, the persistent attacks, delivered with unbelievable courage soon had the Germans calling Marines “teufelhunden,” referring to the fierce fighting dogs of legendary origin.

Gyrene:  The term “gyrene” is a jocular reference to Marines which was first used in England as early as 1894. It was used in the United States around the time of World War I. Its exact origin is unknown, but it did appear to have a derogatory meaning in its early usage. It has been suggested that the term may embody a reference to pollywog, a naval slang term for a person who has not yet “crossed” [the equator], hence, a landlubber.

Jarhead:  A slang term used by sailors as early as World War II to refer to members of the Marine Corps, drawing the term from the resemblance of the Marine dress blues uniform, with its high collar, to a Mason jar.

Whatever you call them, you want them on your side in a fight.  Happy Birthday, Marines.


Old Age: When Your Body Demands Payback


My body and I argue

Almost every single day

It complains that I’m the reason

Things are now this way

“For all  the things you could have done

And the things you failed to do

The only reason for this mess

It is all because of you!

So don’t tell me that it  hurts

And will I stop the pain?

After many years of misuse

It’s my turn to complain.”



Reblog from National Anthem Girl: Send Christmas Cards to Lonely Vets in Hospice Care


Veteran’s Last Patrol’s purpose is to ensure no veteran faces their last years, months, weeks of their lives alone. They would love to deliver YOUR cards to veterans who are alone in hospice this holiday season! This is a GREAT project for your students, children, office group…everyone! Please consider sharing this mission with others. Here’s all the info you need:

How many cards should I send? As many as you can! Veteran’s Last Patrol is currently working with about 100 veterans. The more cards each vet receives the merrier! Be creative! If you’ve got some creative students/kids – have them draw pictures too!
Do I need to put postage on each card? No. If you’re sending more than one card, just put them all in one package or envelope and send. Feel free to put your return address on each card. You may gain a pen-pal!
How should I address these veterans? Dear American Hero, or Dear Veteran, works!
What should I write? Something from your heart! Thank them for their service. Tell them about yourself, and about what you’ve done with the freedom they fought for. If you’ve served tell them about that! Keep your notes cheerful and full of gratitude!!
When do cards need to be in by? The sooner the better, but no later than December 10th. This allows time for VLP to collect and disperse.

Veteran’s Last Patrol attn: Holiday Drive
PO BOX 6111, Spartanburg, SC 29304

A few more things:

Feel free to send unwrapped holiday gifts too. Here is an Amazon Wish List for you to pick from.
VLP is currently in 11states, they can use more veteran volunteers across the country. To visit veterans who are alone and in hospice care. Click here.
Another way to help is to designate Veteran’s Last Patrol your Amazon Smile charity, or you can donate directly here.

Veterans's Last Patrol

In the Pink for Breast Cancer

I felt quite cosmopolitan.
My favorite bartender,
Richard, at the Mark Center Clyde’s
Served me one.
He didn’t even have to ask
It was appropriately pink.
I sampled six different oysters.
Tried the Pink Moon from New London Bay on Prince Edward Island.
The name of the oyster has temporarily changed
Because they are donating a portion of each oyster
Sold to breast cancer research.
One of my best friends, Lynn McDonald, recently died of brain cancer
It was a recurrence of breast cancer that had been in remission for 5 years.
Lynn was 66 years young when she died this fall.

I finished this delectable meal with a glass of pink bubbly, which was raised in a virtual toast to Lynn, who would have loved to have been there to try it too.

Richard serving my Cosmopolitan.jpg
To Lynn, here’s  to you!



Handicapable or Random Act of Kindness

I was waiting for the Archives Shuttle from DC to College Park, Maryland yesterday morning.  Five of us stood without making eye-contact, each locked his/her own thoughts, typical Washington DC stay in your own zone type of behavior.  A middle-aged man said a cheerful hello,  I acknowledged him with a quick smile and a mumbled hello. His arms looked fore-shortened.

As I climbed the shuttle stairs, my backpack slid off the one-shoulder I had hitched it over and bounced down each stair before landing on the sidewalk.  The cheerful man was the next person in line. His wrists and hands were attached to his elbows. He picked up the backpack and handed it up to me before boarding the shuttle himself.

I smiled and gave him an audible “Thanks very much.”

His helpfulness kickstarted my day in a wonderful, uplifting way.

Guided Meditation for Pain Management

Since the drugs were not doing it  for me, I decided to try a guided mediation for Pain Management

Day 1 (Sept 20) = I tried a 20 minute mediation where I imagined myself in a white robe standing with my bare feet on freshly cut grass in a garden with a tinkling fountain.  Bird song filled the air above the sound of splashing water.  There was a hammock in the shade to one side of the garden.  I got about 22 pain-free minutes.

Day 2 (Sept 21) = I was comparatively pain free yesterday despite some standing and walking when we toured a retirement facility in the Charlottesville area.  This morning, my knees felt better until I sat down at my desk when they started to feel like I was putting too much torque on them by sitting with my legs loosely crossed at the ankles.   I tried the same meditation.  I could feel the pain and tension slip away for about 8 minutes, then the chill air poured out of the overhead vent.  I aroused myself from the meditative state long enough to pull on my jacket.   The pain tried to slip back in but the meditative state chased it away.

September 23-28 = We were in San Diego and I experienced no serious pain on the trip.  Since that trip, my pain level has been 1-3 and OTC drugs have taken care of the pain. The pain management meditation must have helped.