It’s National Salute Week!
February 12 through 18 is a special time at Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers all across America.
Established as an official VA program in 1978, this week is known as “National Salute to Veteran Patients” and is an annual event designed to increase public awareness of Veterans and the sacrifices they have made for our nation.
It is an opportunity for the public to visit their local VA Medical Center and its outpatient clinics, meet America’s Veterans, and explore the various aspects of the facility’s volunteer program.
The National Salute to Veteran Patients gives everyone a chance to let those who have given so much to our nation know that they are not forgotten. We want people of all ages to bring Valentine’s Day cheer to our patients.
Highlights of the special salute week are concerts for Veterans around Valentine’s Day that say, “Thank you!”
Famous performers entertain America’s heroes in VA medical centers around the country.
The purpose of the National Salute to Veteran Patients Program is to:
The week of February 14 each year is your opportunity to say thank you to a special group of men and women, more than 98,000 Veterans of the U.S. armed services who are cared for every day in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, outpatient clinics, domiciliaries, and nursing homes.
The Salute gives everyone a chance to let those who have given so much to our nation know they are not forgotten.
During the National Salute, VA invites individuals, Veterans groups, military personnel, civic organizations, businesses, schools, local media, celebrities and sports stars to participate in a variety of activities at the VA medical centers. The activities and events include special ward visits and valentine distributions, photo opportunities, school essay contests, and Veteran recognition programs.
The week also provides an opportunity for the community to become acquainted with the volunteer opportunities within the medical center.
Contact your nearest VA Medical Center and ask for Voluntary Service to discover the wonderful things you, your group or organization can do to salute America's Heroes. Locate the facility nearest you.
Concerts by Legendary Performers All Week
B.J. Thomas (“Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head”), who performed at Miami Beach on February 12, will sing in Battle Creek, Michigan on February 14 and in Prescott, AZ, on February 18. Thanks BJ!
Other legendary performers donating their time to perform for Veterans are The Temptations, Gary Lewis and The Playboys, Lorrie Morgan and Lee Greenwood.
Many thanks to Help Hospitalized Veterans for sponsorship of the talent at each of the concerts and to the many local donors who make these concerts a success.
Popular actor Mark Valley is this year’s Chairman of the National Salute.
Mark Valley is a graduate of West Point. He was stationed in Germany for five years and became fluent in German. During this time, he also was part of Operation Desert Storm.
Mark Valley, or Brad Chase to Boston Legal fans, began in U.S. television with appearances in soap opera shows as Another World.
Valley made an impact on television viewers with his lead role as Robert Greeley in the short-lived FOX series Pasadena, as well as in recurring roles on ER and Once and Again. He did guest roles in several other shows before becoming part of the ensemble cast of the ABC legal drama Boston Legal between 2004 and 2007.
Send a Valentine to a Vet
Columnist Ann Landers initiated a movement several years ago encouraging school children and adults to write a special note of thanks to hospitalized Veterans in a Valentine’s Day greeting. We take great care in distributing these cards to Veterans and displaying them throughout our hospital during this particular week.
It is touching to see how much effort young children put into making special Valentines to brighten the lives of our nation’s Veterans. Cards come in every shape and size — and are made with everything from tissue paper, stickers, and colored doilies to crayons, construction paper, and stamps. One thing all of these cards have in common is they are made with love and respect for our nation’s Veterans.
In addition to cards from school children, hospitalized Veterans and those with outpatient clinic appointments receive visits from local celebrities, elected officials, and other groups, and enjoy their special day.
These visits have traditionally included personal time together sharing stories and interests, playing cards or board games, and distribution of U.S. flags.
National Salute Week also draws awareness to the role of VA in the community, as well as the many important volunteer opportunities at VA facilities.
Everyone is encouraged to send a Valentine to a Veteran or support one of the many special activities during this week at their local VA Medical Center.