BY KATE O’HARE-PALMER, CHAIR
Our Zoom committee meeting in September was attended by a small group. We discussed plans for the National Convention. Committee member Frank Arminio forwarded Senate Resolution 267, which designated June 12, 2021, as Women Veterans Appreciation Day. Sponsored by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), the resolution passed on October 19. While many states have designated this in the past few years, it now will be a national commemoration.
H.R.2385, the Justice for Women Veterans Act, sponsored by Rep. Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), was introduced in April. In July, it was referred to the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. It was also referred to the Committee on Armed Services and the Veterans’ Affairs Committee. This bill requires the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study on women who were involuntarily discharged from the armed forces due to pregnancy or parenthood from 1951-76.
H.R.5212, Improving Oversight of Women Veterans Care Act of 2021, sponsored by Rep. J. Luis Correa (D-Calif.), would amend Title 38 to require annual reporting on veteran access to gender-specific services under Community Care contracts and for other purposes. On September 21 it was referred to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Health.
Many veterans are asked to help another veteran. With the constraints on mobility due to the pandemic, this may be difficult. The VA has created a webpage, that contains information about VA benefits and services. Through it, you can manage your health care, disability, education, records, housing assistance, pension, family member benefits, and VA national cemetery information.
The mobile.va.gov/page includes many apps that can be downloaded on your phone. COVID Coach, for example, helps support self-care and overall mental health during the pandemic. There also is a good app about insomnia, which contains tips on sleep hygiene.
In September the Military Women’s Memorial (formerly WIMSA, Women in Military Service to America) held a Virtual 9/11 Relay Race in honor of women who died in service during the last twenty years. I participated with a group from my local unit 77 of Military Women Across the Nation. It was a great team effort and got us all out walking, bike riding, and running for this cause. Please go to the MWM website to see what else they are doing. Many of you haven’t registered yet with the “We Also Served” member registration. If you do, you will have your service years and a short biography online for your family to see.
We all owe a great debt of gratitude to Gen. Wilma Vaught for her foresight and tenacity in getting this memorial built at Arlington National Cemetery, and its continued mission of honoring women veterans.