World War I seems distant to most people on the earth today, but it was a bloody war in its time that seemed to pull the entire world into its terrible litany of “firsts”: first to be fought on land, sea and air, first widespread use of poison gas, and first use of tanks, flamethrowers, and aircraft carriers. The war-related mental illness then known as “shell shock” was recognized as real. The political effects of this war dominated the 20th century and the war affects events even today.
November 11, the day of the Armistice, or truce, in western Europe, became a day of remembrance in the U.S., France, and across the British Commonwealth. Unfortunately this war did not turn out to be the War to End All Wars as it was called, and in 1954 the name Armistice Day was changed to Veterans Day in the United States, opens a new window to honor veterans of all wars.
If you know a veteran or Gold Star family member with a story to tell, record an interview with the Veterans History Project, opens a new window of the Library of Congress American Folklife Center. It collects and preserves the firsthand interviews and narratives of United States military veterans and Gold Star family members from World War I through the present.
National parks are free for veterans and Gold Star families, opens a new window, and many commemorate the service of veterans. Plan ahead of time for any changes brought about by the pandemic, opens a new window. Find a park, trail, monument, or battlefield site in Georgia, opens a new window.
If you know a veteran who needs a helping hand, get familiar with benefits offered by the U.S. government and the state of Georgia. Unfortunately scammers abound, opens a new window, so use trusted government sources such as these:
- The main page of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, opens a new window contains links to information about all veteran benefits, with special programs for disabled, homeless, minority, women veterans, and veterans in business. Use this clickable map to find facilities in Georgia, opens a new window. The State of Georgia offers additional benefits for Georgia veterans, opens a new window.
- The National Resource Directory, opens a new window is a portal to information on benefits, compensation, family and caregiver support, housing and transportation, education, training and employment, health, financial and legal support, assistive technology and recreational programs for wounded or ill veterans, their families and caregivers. Listings are vetted and maintained by the Defense Health Agency.
- The National Archives site for veterans, opens a new window has information on how to get copies of service records, opens a new window, how to correct or make changes to service records, and how to get replacement medals and decorations.
- My Next Move for Veterans, opens a new window, part of the U.S. Department of Labor, provides some avenues for post-service work. Service members can use it to match civilian positions with their military classification code. The Military Spouse Employment Partnership, opens a new window provides job listings for military spouses, including telework and teletraining that can be used all over the world.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers special assistance to veterans, opens a new window interested in getting into agribusiness, including farm management, ranching, forestry, wildfire management, water resources management, and veterinary science.
- Comparison of VA disability and Social Security disability benefits, opens a new window. A high VA compensation rating does not mean the veteran will qualify for SSDI benefits under the Social Security Act. A veteran must apply for each benefit separately because eligibility rules are different.
- The VA collects resources for homeless veterans, opens a new window.
- VA Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization, opens a new window provides opportunities for veteran-owned procurement-ready businesses.
- The Military personnel locator portal, opens a new window maintained by USA.gov can help get in touch with a veteran.