Updated: February 28, 2013 6:40AM
Dear Annie: I am honored to see citizens and patriots step forward to honor and support one of our nation’s greatest assets, the American veteran. Helping those who have given their mind, body and spirit in defense of our nation is woven into the fabric of our society. From the Revolutionary War to the present, everyday people donate their time and expertise to help those who have served on the frontlines of freedom.
Our veterans reflect all that is good in our nation: honor, courage and commitment. The volunteers who serve and support our veterans bring that same measure of greatness to their mission each and every day.
Many of your readers join us each February in the National Salute to Veteran Patients. This program encourages Americans to visit and volunteer at the Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and to send letters of thanks or valentines to those who have protected our nation. This year’s National Salute is Feb. 10-16.
Last year, more than 361,000 valentines were received at VA medical centers, and 21,904 people visited nearly 82,493 veteran patients. We have had an increasing number of Americans participate in this program each year, and 2012 was no exception. I thank you and your readers for your work in bringing attention to this worthy cause. Of special note, VA Voluntary Service recruited a total of 364 new volunteers during the week of the 2012 Valentines for Veterans Concert Series. This is an outstanding testament to the ongoing support our veterans receive at the community level.
On behalf of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, I encourage your thoughtful readers again to take some time this February to honor our veterans. Annie, thank you for your support of this outstanding program.
For more information regarding the National Salute and volunteer opportunities at a local VA medical center, visit VA’s Voluntary Service at www.volunteer.va.gov.
Tommy S. Sowers,
Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental
Affairs, Washington, D.C.
Dear Dr. Sowers: Every year, our readers make us proud with their outpouring of appreciation for our veterans through the Valentines for Vets program.
Write to firstname.lastname@example.org