November 11, 1918 marked one of the most important days in the history of the United States and the world. On this day, fighting ceased between the Allied powers and Germany, marking the end of the First World War. President Woodrow Wilson designated this day as Armistice Day, saying, “For us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who have died in the service of the country. and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it freed us and because of the opportunity it gave America to show her sympathy for peace and justice in the councils of the nation”. It wasn’t until 1938, after the end of World War II, that November 11 became Veterans Day.
World War II saw the greatest mobilization of any branch of the military. President Dwight D. Eisenhower wanted to honor every soldier who had served in World War II, so he renamed November 11 Veterans Day, a day of remembrance for all the men and women who fought in wars and in future wars. It has become a celebration to honor American veterans for the love of their country and the sacrifice they have made to fight for our freedoms.
Veterans Day today is no different than it was 84 years ago. Although our world may seem different, the meaning of this day has not changed. We have parades and celebrations across the country highlighting the importance of the call these men and women have answered to serve their country and fight for our freedoms. Since the beginning of this country, people have tried to deprive us of our freedoms, but our country has stood up for democracy throughout the world.
One of the ways we have found to give back to our veterans is through the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Veterans have received DVA benefits since the American Revolution, but it did not become a specific federal agency until 1930, when it was called the Veterans Administration. Then in 1989 it became what we know today as the Department of Veterans Affairs. Its sole purpose is to provide assistance to our country’s veterans through educational opportunities, health care and mental health services, home loans, disability benefits and much more. Each state has its own DVA and receives both state and federal funding. The primary purpose of having a specific state agency is to serve the needs of veterans who reside in their state.
The Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs (KDVA) serves Kentucky’s 295,000 veterans and their families through a multitude of services. The KDVA provides free professional assistance to veterans in obtaining and using federal and state benefits. They help veterans claim all the benefits and rights to which they are entitled. These representatives are fully accredited and are experts in representing veterans and ensuring that veterans do not have to pay for an attorney. They are trained and certified in the VA claims and appeals process. This is just one of the ways we give back to our veterans, and without these representatives, many of our veterans would not receive their full benefits.
I am a proud supporter of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs because of the work it does to help improve the lives of veterans across the Commonwealth. Although we have a day set aside to honor our veterans, we must honor them every day of the year, and the work of the KDVA helps to ensure just that.
As always, I hope you will feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns. I can be reached here at home anytime or via the toll-free messaging line in Frankfurt at 1-800-372-7181. Feel free to email me at Samara.Heavrin@lrc.ky.gov. If you want more information about the interim commissions or legislative actions, you can visit the Legislative Research Commission website at legislature.ky.gov.