What A Wonderful Gesture

The following is a press release put out by Chick-Fil-A on December 4th:

Chick-fil-A is now an official associate partner of the 119th Army- Navy Game presented by USAA. One of the most storied and iconic rivalries in all of sports will take place on Saturday, December 8 at 3:00 p.m. ET at Lincoln Financial Field with the broadcast on CBS. The Chick-fil-A partnership includes a pop-up restaurant in Philadelphia that will be part of an experiential watch party for military service men and women. Chick-fil-A will host active duty military, veterans and their families at the private event.

The partnership and event are an extension of Chick-fil-A’s active involvement in college football which includes the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame and the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, which is part of the College Football Playoff,” said Keith Hester, Sports & Entertainment Partnerships at Chick-fil-A. “Chick-fil-A is proud to support and honor the men and women in the military and their families who have served, are serving, and will serve our country.”

The Chick-fil-A pop-up restaurant is designed to bring fans of rival football teams together by creating a shared table. Members of the military will attend the event to participate in spirited competition, a shared meal and a watch party. Army and Navy active military and veterans can register to attend the event by RSVP via this link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chick-fil-a-army-navy-watch-party-tickets-52313236298

Other activities include a card writing station to show military appreciation, giveaways, food and much more. Chick-fil-A will also be flying in Army and Navy veterans nominated by local franchise Operators located across the country to attend the pre-game ceremonies and the game.  

Chick-fil-A founder Truett Cathy was a World War II veteran himself, and the company is proud to count many veterans among the more than 120,000 Operators, Team Members, and staff who represent the brand nationwide. The company plans to continue its commitment to hiring and honoring veterans, recognizing the value in their unique skills and easing the transition to civilian life after service. Recently, Chick-fil-A was named No. 2 on Indeed’s list of Top-Rated Workplaces as ranked by military veterans.

There are many reasons I love Chick-Fil-A.

This Is Just Wrong

The Congressional Budget Office website has posted a suggestion for cutting our military spending. As usual, it is a suggestion that does nothing to solve the bureaucracy problem–it just takes money away from people who were actually promised benefits.

Aside from the toll twenty or more years in the military takes on families, it also takes a physical toll on the soldiers. Many of our retiring soldiers also collect disability pay for various injuries suffered in the course of their service. These injuries include war injuries, but they also include more simple (but often painful) injuries acquired in the various physical requirements of service. Under the current program, soldiers with injuries collect disability pay (the amount is based on the severity of the injuries) as well as retirement pay. The Obama Administration is wanting to change that.

The article explains:

Military service members who retire—either following 20 or more years of military service under the longevity-based retirement program or early because of a disability—are eligible for retirement annuities from the Department of Defense (DoD). In addition, veterans with medical conditions or injuries that were incurred or worsened during active-duty military service (excluding those resulting from willful misconduct) are eligible for disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Until 2003, military retirees who were eligible for disability compensation could not receive both their full retirement annuity and their disability compensation. Instead, they had to choose between receiving their full retirement annuity from DoD or receiving their disability benefit from VA and forgoing an equal amount of their DoD retirement annuity; that reduction in the retirement annuity is generally referred to as the VA offset. Because the retirement annuity is taxable and disability compensation is not, most retirees chose the second alternative.

As a result of several laws, starting with the National Defense Authorization Act for 2003, two classes of retired military personnel who receive VA disability compensation (including those who retired before the enactment of those laws) can now receive payments that make up for part or all of the VA offset, benefiting from what is often called concurrent receipt. Specifically, retirees whose disabilities arose from combat are eligible for combat-related special compensation (CRSC), and veterans who retire with 20 or more years of military service and who receive a VA disability rating of 50 percent or more are eligible for what is termed concurrent retirement and disability pay (CRDP). CRSC is exempt from federal taxes, but CRDP is not; some veterans would qualify for both types of payments but must choose between the two.

This option would eliminate concurrent receipt of retirement pay and disability compensation beginning in 2015: Military retirees currently drawing CRSC or CRDP would no longer receive those payments, nor would future retirees. As a result, the option would reduce federal spending by $108 billion between 2015 and 2023, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.

This is not the place to cut government spending. One of the things President Obama has done in office has been to undo the welfare reforms put in place by the Clinton Administration. Going back to those regulations, which actually decreased welfare rolls and put people back to work, would seriously reduce government spending. We need to give money to people who have earned it–not people who have not. When Congress recently did not extend the amount of time people could collect unemployment, unemployment went down. When you reward a behavior, it increases. We need to learn that lesson if we are ever going to cut government spending.

 

From The Heart

This is a post from a site called militaryspouse.com. Sometimes we forget the price the families of our military pay.

Weary Military Spouse Confessions

I am tired. I am over this thing we call “military life”.

Right off the bat I can hear the comments. “You knew what you were getting into”, “What do you have to complain about… you are not the service member”, “Suck it up, Buttercup”.

And all those comments make me want to punch a hole through the wall. This white wall that I am staring at, in a place that is supposed to feel like home because “home is where the heart is” or some other well-meaning cliché. But this doesn’t feel like home. At all.

I have been a military spouse since many reading this were in diapers. I was a spouse before 9/11… a young spouse then, new to military life and full of positivity and an eagerness to embrace this strange new world I married into. Even years after the towers fell, I was still optimistic. That first war-time deployment was hard, but my fellow military spouses saved me. We saved each other. Re-connecting with my husband was a bit challenging, but nothing we couldn’t handle. He was home alive… and that was all that mattered, right?

The first couple of PCS moves brought tears to my eyes… but the kids adjusted well and we all made new friends and it was an adventure. I was getting the hang of re-arranging our stuff to fit a new place. I knew all the tips and tricks about how to make a move go smoothly. I tried not to be too upset if something was damaged. It happens… and they are just things after all. Our immediate family was together, and that was the most important thing in the world.

I don’t know exactly when the shift happened. It kind of feels like a gradual thing… each deployment, each TDY, each PCS move, each homecoming… all chipping away at me. Wearing my skin thin. Making me more tired by the minute. And now, I just feel weary… all of the time.

I am weary of turning on the news and not seeing the numbers of dead reported… because it has just become too commonplace to be newsworthy.

I am weary of watching my children fight back tears as they say goodbye, again… and of watching them struggle to find their place in a new school.

I am weary of sending my husband away again… not knowing if this will be the time he doesn’t get so lucky.

I am weary of spending a large portion of my married life alone… even when he is “home”.

I am weary of lying in bed awake with worry at night over all of the unknowns of military life… and that doesn’t even count deployment.

I am weary of being told how lucky we are to have free health insurance and a steady paycheck… as if it were a gift.

I am weary of being away from extended family… I miss them terribly.

I am weary of making great friends and then saying goodbye… never seeing them again except on Facebook.

I am weary of witnessing the heartbreaking changes in my husband, that he won’t get help for… because he didn’t see combat after all. It wouldn’t be right.

I am weary of wondering what changes I will continue to see in my kids… who have known nothing but a life as a military child, with an active duty parent, during a time of war.

I am weary of the changes I KNOW are happening within in me… but I am too busy worrying about everyone else and just trying to get by, to ever seek help for myself.

I am weary of trying to be positive about the whole thing.

I am weary of people telling me how wonderful this life can be.

I am weary of putting on a brave face.

I am weary of not being honest about it all.

My husband only has a short time left in the military, and I am hopeful that my feelings are just indicative of how long we have been a part of this life… and that we are ready to move on to the next chapter. Am I grateful for the things that we have gained from my husband’s military service? Of course. But I am also well aware of the things we have given up. And I know that our weariness is a clear sign that it is time for his service to this great nation to come to an end.

I don’t write this for sympathy… I write it in hopes that if there are others out there feeling the same, they will feel a little less alone. I write it so that I can be honest about my feelings, an important first step in trying to get past them. Please don’t misunderstand. I am extremely proud of my husband, his service, and how our family has supported him for all of these years.

But I am weary. So weary.

And I don’t believe I am alone

Remember our military and their families in your prayers.

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The Official Israeli Navy SEALS Association in Stoughton

Date:November 14th, 2013
Location:
Ahavath Torah Congregation
1179 Central Street
Stoughton, MA

Time: 7:00 PM

Cost:  $10 Donation Suggested.

Event Details:

The Israeli Navy SEALs, also known as the Naval Commandos and Shayetet — or “Shin” — 13, is one of the elite combat units in Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF).  Its insignia is a bat (in Hebrew “Atalef” ) carrying a hand grenade. Its moto: “Like a bat out of the darkness, like a grenade exploding in thunder”.

About Atalef:  

The Atalef Foundation is dedicated to supporting the SEALs during their demanding regular and reserve military service, and to supporting them during their re-entry to civilian society. It is also committed to helping the SEALs realize their promise to Israeli society by encouraging and assisting each of them to contribute to society the unique skills and talents that they exhibited and acquired during their years of military service.

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The House Of Representatives Has Passed A New Stolen Valor Act

On September 14th Stars and Stripes reported that the U. S. House of Representatives passed a new Stolen Valor Act. The first Stolen Valor Act passed by Congress was struck down by the Supreme Court on freedom of speech issues. The House of Representatives voted 410-3 to pass the revised Stolen Valor Act.

The article reports:

The bill states that those who misrepresent their military service with the intent of receiving something of value would be subject to up to one year in prison. Following the lines of the court ruling, it exempts from punishment those who simply wear military medals or decorations that do not belong to them.

The Supreme Court, in its 6-3 decision overturning the 2006 Stolen Valor Act in June, ruled that while lying about receiving military awards might be contemptible, it was protected by the First Amendment. Several justices, however, also noted that it was established that the government could restrict speech if it involved false claims made to obtain money or other benefits.

I understand why the Supreme Court struck down the first law, but I don’t agree with their decision. I am glad to see the House has passed a new law dealing with false claims, but I still think that misrepresenting military honors or military service for any reason should be regarded as a serious crime. To allow anyone to claim military service or military honors they did not earn is to me simply a further disrespecting of those who have served valiantly in our armed forces. I hope this new bill becomes law, but it is not nearly as severe as it needs to be.

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This Is Not The Way To Balance The Budget–Ever!!!!!

 

CBS News reported yesterday that there have been high level meetings held at the Pentagon recently discussing an overhaul of the military retirement system. In general terms, an active duty military member who retires after twenty years of active duty receives half of his pay as retirement income regardless of his age. Before you get too excited about this, I would like to point out that a level E-6 enlisted military member with 20 years of service earns $3533.40 per month. That would make his retirement approximately $1700 a month.  An senior officer at level O-8 with 20 years of service earns $12762.30 a month.  That would make his retirement roughly $6000 a month.

Now let’s look at Congress. The current salary (2011) for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is $174,000 per year. A full pension is available to Members 62 years of age with 5 years of service; 50 years or older with 20 years of service; or 25 years of service at any age. In 2002, the average Congressional pension payment ranged from $41,000 to $55,000.

Let’s look at the military retirement system. It provides incentive for people to stay in the military for 20 years in spite of the hardships–family separations, combat tours, living away from extended family, moving every two to four years, low pay, etc. Taking away the current military retirement system would result in fewer senior officers and enlisted people who function as leaders in the military. It would negatively impact the quality of our military forces.

Unfortunately Congress sets the rules for its retirement program and the military retirement program. It is rather obvious that Congress is looking out for itself while it plans on giving our military the shaft. If Congress seriously considers changing military retirement, I will work to make sure every Congressman who votes for the change is voted out of office in 2012 or whenever he runs for re-election.

This is obscene!

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