United States Department of Veterans Affairs
 Health Care
Veterans Day 2009
Augusta VA Medical Center staff and Veterans march under sunny Georgia skies on Veterans Day, 2008.
Augusta VA Medical Center staff and Veterans march under sunny Georgia skies on Veterans Day, 2008.

VA Medical Centers truly are the Home of the Brave, and this is never more apparent than every year on Veterans Day, November 11.

Full Agenda for Patients on the Big Day

That's when medical center staff, local communities and numerous enthusiastic partners salute the men and women of America's military for their service.

At the Augusta, GA, medical center, the Recreation Therapy department hosts veterans at a colorful ceremony featuring patriotic music, a color guard and a red carnation for all Veterans. Many of the patients at the medical center join in the trivia contest and a bingo social.

They also announce the winner of the "What Veterans Day Means to Me" essay contest and share the thoughts of the Commander in Chief with the reading of the Presidential Proclamation.

Puget Sound Medical Center Salutes an Exceptional Hero

At the Puget Sound VA Medical Center, local celebrities, VSO officials and Congressional delegations will visit with patients, hand out patriotic pins, and participate in a program for outpatients. They will also join in a "Wall of Heroes" induction, posthumously honoring Veteran Dennis Wolden who earned several medals during the Korean War.

With this wall, the Puget Sound Medical Center recognizes Veterans who have served their country in wartime and have been personally decorated for Heroism, Bravery or Valor. The placement of the Wall in the Medical Center provides daily visibility to hundreds of patients, staff and visitors.

On the morning of November 11, members of the Starbucks' Armed Forces Partner Network will be visiting hospitalized Veterans at the Seattle facility, providing coffee and conversation for patients.

Veterans Day Feast for Patients Cooked Up by Community

Support for Veterans in the Puget Sound area will also be demonstrated on Veterans Day when members of local community groups will don aprons and prepare meals for Veterans and their families staying at the Fisher House.

The Fisher House provides a free "home away from home" for Veterans and their family members who live great distances from the medical center while the Veteran receives long-term care.

Medical Center in Minnesota Marches Out

With Flags a' flying...the 2008 Veterans Day Parade in St. Cloud, Minnesota.With Flags a' flying...the 2008 Veterans Day Parade in St. Cloud, Minnesota.
With Flags a' flying...the 2008 Veterans Day Parade in St. Cloud, Minnesota.

Staff from the St. Cloud VA Medical Center will participate in a community Veterans Day Parade along with the St. Cloud MetroVets.

The Medical Center, the MetroVets, the St. Cloud Times and a number of community organizations have sponsored a parade for the past two years and hope to draw 400 Veterans and other community groups with Veteran-themed entries to this year's parade.

Guest speaker at the St. Cloud Veterans Day ceremony will be Lt. Col. Mark Donlin, recently returned from Iraq.

Denver Medical Center, Clinics, Join in Festivities

Patients at the VA Medical Center in Denver will be honored on Veterans Day along with other Veterans served by eight community based outpatient clinics in the Eastern Colorado Health Care System.

In addition to the Denver Veterans Day parade on November 7 and a Buffalo Soldiers program on November 10, Governor Bill Ritter of Colorado will visit the Denver Fisher House on November 11.

The Denver Fisher House - A home away from home.
The Denver Fisher House - A home away from home.

Similar to the Fisher House in Puget Sound described above, the Denver Fisher House is a home-away-from-home for veterans or active duty military who are in the area to visit a hospitalized family member or for the family of hospitalized veterans or active duty military.

Also staying at the Fisher House are veterans or active duty military from out of town who are undergoing an extended episode of outpatient therapy and are accompanied by a family member or friend.

Flyover Paints the Sky at Texas Veterans Day Celebration

The VA North Texas Health Care System/Sam Rayburn Memorial Veterans Center and the City of Bonham hosted the 19th annual Regional Veterans Day Program on November 6th at the Bonham High School Warrior football stadium.

A military flyover kicked off the formal program, followed by the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) color guard.

A flyover like this one filled the Texas sky.
A flyover like this one filled the Texas sky.

The event included a static display of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter and vehicle display from the Military Preservation and Historical Club.

Health Care Center Director Joseph M. Dalpiaz invited the community to join the VA in recognition and honor of America's Veterans that have earned and deserve our respect and appreciation for their sacrifices and the sacrifices of their families.

From all of us to all of you: Thank You!

The Veterans Health Administration serves the health care needs of millions of Veterans enrolled in VHA, the nation's largest integrated health care system.

The 239,000 VHA employees at over 1,400 sites, including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, domiciliaries, and Readjustment Counseling Centers, give thanks to all Veterans and their families on Veterans Day 2009 for the freedom we enjoy because of their service to America. You can find your local facilities here.

By Hans Petersen, VA Staff Writer