The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


November 12, 2013

Readers' Forum 11/12 | VA proud to serve heroes

JOHNSTOWN — We honored our nation’s heroes, our veterans. Veterans Day traces its lineage back 95 years, to 1918, when the guns fell silent across the battlefields of Europe.

Nearly five million Americans served in  the world war, as it was known then. More than 53,000 Americans did not return. The war was billed as the war to end all wars.

More than two decades later, another world war erupted, during which 16 million Americans served and 300,000 made the ultimate sacrifice to free Europe, Africa and the Pacific from tyranny.

Another six years later, nearly two million Americans were called to serve in Korea, where 33,000 of their comrades gave their lives to rescue desperate people from communist aggression. The names of who died are listed on a long black wall in the nation’s capital.

Since Vietnam, Americans have deployed under arms to nearly a dozen troubled lands. About 2.4 million Americans have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than a million veterans of the World War II are still with us, as are about 21 million veterans of all the wars and years since then.  

For the Department of Veterans Affairs, every day is Veterans Day. VA provides world-class health care to qualified Veterans nationwide.

The James E. Van Zandt VA Medical Center in Altoona and the outpatient clinics in DuBois, Johnstown and State College provide care to 25,000 veterans each year. Our staff proudly serves the heroes who come to us each day seeking medical care, emotional support and the camaraderie of being with fellow veterans.

On behalf of the staff and the volunteers, I thank all of the veterans in the 14 counties we serve and say, thank you for your service and sacrifice.

William Mills

Director, James E. Van Zandt

VA Medical Center, Altoona

Generations still not able to end wars

As we celebrated our heroes on Veterans Day, it is a tragedy to me. Not the veterans that are heroes, but that we continue to write the history of mankind in war.

In this enlightened age we live in, it seems successive generations seem to think they are capable of ending all of the ills and wars. Unfortunately, we leave no proof that we are successful.

We fought a civil war for equality and two wars to end all wars and all that we fight for seems to elude us.

As we celebrated our hero veterans, I hope for a day when our heroes are made in a world full of peace.

Well done veterans.

Joe Muscatello


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