Norton: Remembering ‘Those Who Bear the Burden’

One hundred years ago, this Veteran’s Day, the guns of the Great War fell silent across Europe, and the doughboys started coming home.

D.C. Norton

It was at the 11th hour of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, that World War I — “the war to end all wars” — ended.

This defining war shaped our nation. More than four million American families sent their sons and daughters to serve in uniform. Over 116,000 U.S. soldiers died from combat and disease, and another 200,000 came home wounded.

The Great War gave rise to better care for veterans who had suffered in the war. In 1921, Congress combined all World War I Veterans’ programs into one to create the Veterans Bureau.

And in 1930, the Veterans Bureau was elevated to the Veterans Administration, the forerunner of the Department of Veterans Affairs as we know it today, to “consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war Veterans.”

For our present-day veterans, their families and survivors, the 56 VA regional offices continue to break records in all manner of benefits delivery and service.

  • As of the end of September, the average days to complete these claims has dropped from 114 days, to just over 93 days.
  • In home loans, VA has guaranteed over 610K loans, totaling over $161B where veterans and their families live, and helped 105K veteran customers avoid foreclosure.
  • When a veteran calls VA, they will join 5.7M of their fellow veterans who called VA with an average wait time of under two minutes, with 100 percent of them getting through.
  • This year, VA is on track to deliver an estimated $13B in education benefits under the historic Harry W. Colmery Educational Assistance Act, known as the “Forever G.I. Bill.”  When fully implemented, this new law will make this most popular benefit a true lifetime benefit.
  • In our state VBA has delivered over $121,779,625 benefits to the 96,877 veterans, their families, and survivors this past year alone.

As we gather in numerous events, parades, and ceremonies around the nation to remember and show our appreciation for those who have “borne the battle,” we would simply like to thank you, and ask that you take a moment and pause in remembrance for those who gave so much.

Whether as an American citizen, an employer of a veteran, or a friend, your support will always be appreciated. Most importantly, if you should know a veteran who needs assistance, of any kind, please do not hesitate to let us know by contacting us at 1 800-827-1000.

D.C. Norton is the director of the Phoenix VA Regional Office

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