Veterans GOODNEWS for Nov. 12

Veterans GOODNEWS for Nov. 12

Good news for veteransSeeing beyond the stereotypes on Veterans Day (Newsweek)
Opinion: “The decreasing number of veterans has culminated in a country with a severe cultural disconnect between its citizens and those serving in military roles. Warriors are misunderstood and kept at a polite distance. I can’t speak to why exactly. Perhaps out of respect, fear or simply not knowing what to say. Probably some combination thereof. Stereotypes influence others people’s perception of veterans, since so few can really identify with us. Movies, television and the news all paint conflicting images; soldiers are either brave knights crusading for righteousness or barbarians off to rape, plunder and pillage. These two realities can’t exist together rationally, but such portrayals shape our perceptions nonetheless.”

What each state’s veteran population looks like in 10 maps (Washington Post)
As the nation celebrates its veterans on Tuesday, it makes sense to take a look at who those veterans are. As of the end of September, there were nearly 22 million veterans living in the United States, according to Department of Veterans Affairs estimates. But the population in each states is different. Some states’ veterans are older, some are younger. Some states have higher concentrations of women. Some have more World War II veterans, others are dominated by Gulf War era veterans. View 10 maps that show what the veteran population looks like in each state, according to an analysis based on VA and Census Bureau data.

Dogs of War get heroes’ salute at NYC Veterans Day parade (ABC News)
New York’s Veteran’s Day parade honored all veterans, even the canine ones. For the first time in the parade’s history, six military dogs marched alongside the soldiers they served with. After returning to the United States, the dogs are reunited with the service members they had worked with in the military. Lois Pope, the founder and chair of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, funded the dogs’ float at the parade. “There are heroes on both sides of the leash,” Pope told ABC News. “These dogs have saved our boys lives.” Also at the parade were service dogs who help veterans ease back into post-war life.

In D.C., stars sound the call to honor veterans (USA Today)
Rihanna, Bruce Springsteen, Eminem and a slew of other big-name acts converged on Washington, D.C., to honor American veterans during Tuesday night’s live HBO special The Concert for Valor. The genre-spanning spectacle on the National Mall, with the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop, featured performances by the Black Keys, Carrie Underwood, Jessie J, Dave Grohl, Jennifer Hudson, Metallica and Zac Brown Band. Actors and activists presented a series of vignettes throughout the night, highlighting veterans. “We’re here to support all the people that sacrifice their lives so we can be free,” Zac Brown of the Zac Brown Band told press before the show.

Marine, retired NYPD detective uses investigative skills to reunite veterans (WCBS-New York)
From the battlefield to the Internet, a former Marine has found a way to help thousands of his fellow veterans reunite with others that they have served with. George Reilly, a retired NYPD detective, spent many years hunting down criminals. Now, he’s putting his investigative skills to use for a different cause. The Vietnam veteran spends hours online tracking people down and helping fellow veterans reconnect with those they served and fought alongside. It’s camaraderie that very few truly understand. “The people that were with you hold a special place in your heart because they were there to save you, and you were there to save them and that’s just a bind that can never be broken,” he told CBS2’s Tracee Carrasco, “Only the people that have been there with you know what you’re talking about.” So far, Reilly has singlehandedly helped about 3,000 veterans reunite with other veterans, some from the Korean War and World War II. He works with an organization called “Together We Served” — an online community that also helps connect service men and women.

Howard Schultz, Starbucks try to shift how veterans are hired (Quartz)
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz likes to experiment in things other than pumpkin lattes. He has inserted himself and his company with varying degrees of success into myriad social issues. His newest focus is on American veterans, and includes the following: a commitment to hiring 10,000 vets and military spouses over five years, work by his family foundation on expanding services and training, and the writing of a book with Washington Post correspondent Rajiv Chandrasekaran on some of the overlooked stories of this generation of veterans. “The concern that I have, candidly, is that six month to a year from now that these veterans won’t be vilified but they won’t be honored, it’ll be a distant memory,” Schultz said in an interview with Quartz. “In addition to that, veterans need to come home in a way that transitions them into civilian life with a job.”

Navy vets create inspiring song to help nation’s charities (Navy Times)
A disabled Navy veteran and a former Navy SEAL have spearheaded the creation of a new song to honor veterans and benefit veterans charities. “No One Gets Left Behind” features the vocal talents of Leland Grant, one half of the duo The Line on Season 2 of NBC’s “The Voice” and country music star “Big” Vinny Hickerson of the duo Trailer Choir, who was featured in Season 12 of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser.” The song idea originated with disabled Navy vet MuLLady (his legal name) and former Navy SEAL Brett Lynch. They enlisted the help of Grammy-nominated songwriter Steven Dale Jones, Dave Simpson, a retired Navy senior chief, and Todd Beauchamp. “We put this together for veterans,” MuLLady said. “The whole point is to find a home for the song so we can raise money for veterans’ charities.”

Bugler offers a final goodbye at veterans’ funerals, other services (Los Angeles Times)
Richard Grogan slipped on white gloves before lifting his bugle from its case. Built to the 74-year-old Army reservist and Navy veteran’s liking, the 4-year-old brass instrument has been Grogan’s partner at fellow veterans’ funerals and other events. Grogan serves in the honor guard of American Legion Post 291 in Newport Beach, a group of 22 veterans that performs military funeral honors and flag salutes. It is known throughout the American Legion as one of the best honor guards in the United States based on its high placement in competitions. “It becomes a sign of respect. Having a live bugler is probably the best thing we could give them. It’s the final goodbye,” Grogan said. Grogan is part of a small fraternity of buglers that plays at military events — mostly funerals, but sometimes memorial services such as a Veterans Day remembrance in Newport Beach.