Issue 40
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
Prince William County
Dear Neighbors,

Happy Veterans Day! It is a day for us all to recognize and be grateful for all the men and women who have served and sacrificed for our country. My Dad served in the Army at the end of World War II but he rarely spoke about his experience there. After my Dad passed away, we found all his documentation, like his enlistment and discharge papers, outlining his service to our country. I wish I had asked him more about it when he was still with us. I am sure I would have learned many valuable insights. 

Most of what I have learned about our Veterans and military personnel, and my appreciation for their service, has come from my time spent right here in Prince William County. Whether it be a close friend or their spouse, another parent I grew to know through years of cheering on our daughters from the sidelines of soccer fields, a county employee or even a fellow Board member, Veterans and active duty personnel make up a large swath of our residents and have brought their dedication and integrity to all they do in our county. 

Veterans can be found serving our community, whether in or out of uniform, with the same dedication and strength they brought to their service to our country. I am grateful for what they did to protect life and liberty around the world, as well as deciding to stay and be a strong part of the fabric of our community. We are all better for it. 

Please take a moment today to thank a Veteran for all they have done, and are still doing, for our community.  It is well-deserved.

In Service,
Chair Ann Wheeler
Veterans Day
In 1918, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in World War I. The official end would come seven months later when the Treaty of Versailles was signed in June of 1919. Yet people continued to refer to November 11, 1918 as the end of the war and later in 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

In acknowledgement of the day, in 1921, an unidentified American soldier killed in World War I was buried at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11. Five years later, in 1926, Congress passed a resolution for an annual proclamation calling for the observance of Armistice Day and in 1938 it became a federal holiday. Following World War II and the Korean War, Veterans’ service organizations lobbied Congress to change the 1938 federal holiday act from Armistice Day to Veterans Day. The change was made and on June 1, 1954 President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the legislation. From then on, November 11 became a day to honor American Veterans of all wars.
The Veteran community in PWC is significant.

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 1503 serves the county and is located in Dale City. It proclaims itself to be the largest VFW post in the world!

Several American Legion Posts are located throughout the county. You can find the one that is closest to you using their Find a Post webpage tool.
The VFW roots trace back to Veterans of the Spanish-American War (1898) and the Philippine Insurrection (1899-1902) who founded local organizations to secure rights and benefits for their service. Many arrived home wounded or sick with no medical care or Veterans' pension. 
Some of these Veterans formed organizations that in 1899 banded together and become known as the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. After chapters were formed in Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania, the movement quickly gained momentum.

The VFW was instrumental in the establishment of the VA, creation of a GI bill for the 20th century, development of the national cemetery system, the fight for compensation for Vietnam Vets exposed to Agent Orange and diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome. In 2008, they won a long-fought victory with the passing of a GI Bill for the 21st Century, giving expanded educational benefits to America's active-duty service members, and members of the Guard and Reserves, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The VFW has also fought for improving VA medical center services for women Veterans. In addition to helping fund the creation of the Vietnam, Korean War, World War II and Women in Military Service memorials, the VFW in 2005 became the first Veterans' organization to contribute to building the new Disabled Veterans for Life Memorial, which opened in November 2010. Annually, the nearly 2 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliaries contribute more than 8.6 million hours of volunteerism in the community. 
The American Legion was chartered and incorporated by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic Veterans organization devoted to mutual helpfulness. It is the nation’s largest wartime Veterans service organization, committed to mentoring youth and sponsorship of wholesome programs in our communities, advocating patriotism and honor, promoting strong national security, and continued devotion to our fellow Servicemembers and Veterans. A nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization, the Legion stands behind the issues most important to the nation's Veterans community, backed by resolutions passed by volunteer leadership.

Hundreds of local American Legion programs and activities strengthen the nation one community at a time. American Legion Baseball educates young people about the importance of sportsmanship, citizenship, and fitness. The Operation Comfort Warriors program supports recovering wounded warriors and their families, providing them with "comfort items" and the kind of support that makes a hospital feel a little bit more like home. The Legion also raises millions of dollars in donations at the local, state, and national levels to help Veterans and their families during times of need and to provide college scholarship opportunities.

Today, membership stands at nearly 2 million in more than 13,000 posts worldwide. The posts are organized into 55 departments: one each for the 50 states, along with the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, France, Mexico, and the Philippines. Over the years, the Legion has influenced considerable social change in America, won hundreds of benefits for Veterans and produced many important programs for children and youth. 
A Special Acknowledgement
The Lake Ridge Rotary's Flags For Heroes has 'raised the flags' at the PWC Government Center at 1 County Complex Court in Woodbridge. In addition to honoring Veterans Day, this year marks the 75th Anniversary of the end of WWII. If you would like to help with removal after the holiday, email them or call 571-572-3150.
Veterans Day Related Things To Do
In honor of Veterans Day, members of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, will celebrate the nation’s Veterans through music, spoken word, and military exhibits and imagery. Conducted by Col. Jason K. Fettig, this tribute was recorded at the John Philip Sousa Band Hall in Washington, D.C., and PWC's National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle. The concert will feature special guests Gary Sinise and the 19th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Sergeant Major Troy Black. The video will premiere at 7:30 pm, Wednesday, Nov. 11 on the Marine Band's YouTube channel.
Saturday, November 14 at 8:00 pm the Hylton Performing Arts Center is presenting Celebrating Veterans and the Arts. The free online event will feature Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, celebrated duo on the American acoustic scene; Darden Purcell, Washington D.C.-based jazz vocalist and recording artist, joined by Mason Jazz faculty; and Voices of Service, a quartet of Veterans and Servicemembers who were finalists on America’s Got Talent (Season 14). This family-friendly concert has something for everyone! The event will be streamed simultaneously on Hylton's webpage, Facebook page, and YouTube channel. While not required, if you register for the event you will be sent a reminder with details for how to watch prior to the event.
Prince William Forest Park is offering an Entrance Free Fee Day for Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 11. The park will be open from sunrise to sunsetRun by the National Park Service, Prince William Forest Park protects the largest piedmont forest in their system and the largest green space in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. It gives area residents and visitors a unique opportunity to camp in, hike through, and explore 15,000 wooded acres filled with wildlife and more than 300 years of human history (Issue 35).
You can still get involved in the Semper K9 3rd Annual Hero Hike 5K and 1 Mile Walk! Combat Veteran-founded and operated, Semper K9’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for wounded, critically ill, and injured members of the Armed Forces and their families by providing them assistance dogs. In this year's virtual event, participation can be anytime from Saturday, November 7 through Saturday, November 14. Registration for adults and children, ages 13 and older, is $45 during the week of the event. Youth registration for children 12 and under is free! If you cannot participate, you can have your Hero recognized on their Wall of Heroes for $5 (scroll down).
Resources For Veterans
Veteran Assistance programs in PWC are:
  • The Veteran Enhanced Transportation Service, a volunteer transportation program for Veterans and their spouses, age 55 or older, who are unable to transport themselves to doctors’ offices or pharmacies.
  • The Veteran-Directed Home and Community-Based Services, a program for Veterans of any age, who are determined and referred by the Veterans Health Administration, to be at-risk of institutional placement and desire self-directed care. It is designed to allow Veterans who are potential candidates for nursing home placement to receive that level of care in their homes.
If you have a Veteran owned business, the PWC Chamber of Commerce Veterans Council:
  • Promotes regional economic growth and stability by collaborating with other organizations and offices that educate, train, mentor, and provide opportunities for employment of our Veterans.
  • Leverages the Chamber’s resources to deliver programs to include Policy Development, Job Placement, Workforce Information, and Transition & Training Services.
Ann B. Wheeler was elected Chair At-Large of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors during the 2019 General Election and assumed office on January 1, 2020. Prince William County is located 25 miles south of Washington, D.C., and is the Commonwealth of Virginia’s second-most populous county with approximately 470,000 residents.