National Former Prisoner of War Recognition Day on April 9th honors the courageous men and women who endured brutal treatment at the hands of their captors. As a result, they also suffered separation from family and displayed incredible endurance and faith during their captivity.
On this day in 1942, the largest number of U.S. Forces were captured by Japanese troops in the Bataan Peninsula in the Philippines. After battling through extreme conditions and prolonged battles, the captured troops were forced to march 65 miles to the prison camp. Without medical attention, food or water thousands died. The mistreatment continued for those who survived the brutal journey. In the compounds, deep in the unfamiliar jungle, the hardships, brutality, and suffering lasted more than two years for those who could survive.
Since the Revolutionary War, over half a million service members have been captured. This number does not reflect those lost or never recovered. However, each POW endures conditions much like the ones described above. These heroes deserve a day of recognition.
In 1984, a movement led by former POWs began seeking a day recognizing for former Prisoners of War on April 9th each year. In 1988, Congress approved legislation setting April 9th to commemorate the date the tragic number of captives were taken prisoner on Bataan. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed National Former Prisoners of War Recognition Day on April 1, 1988, through Presidential Proclamation 5788. He set the observance for April 9, 1988. Since then, through legislation and Presidential Proclamations, the observance carries on. These men and women deserve our respect and profound gratitude.
The terms Gold Star family, Gold Star Spouses, and Gold Star Wives traditionally refer to the surviving loved ones of military members killed in the line of duty in combat. Gold Star Spouses Day was created to honor these loved ones.
This recognition of the sacrifices made by military spouses is a memorial for the fallen, a day of remembrance for the survivors, and an appreciation for those who are sometimes in danger of being overlooked for their support and service to the country.
The Gold Star is a tradition that began during World War One; service flags were flown by military families during this time, with blue stars for every family member serving in uniform. If one died, the blue star was replaced by a gold star. This allowed members of the community to know the price that the family had paid in the cause of freedom.
The tradition of Gold Star Spouses Day began in the early part of the 20th century as Gold Star Mother’s Day, observed on the last Sunday of September beginning in 1936. An organization known as Gold Star Wives began operating before the end of the Second World War, and the Gold Star lapel button tradition was established in the summer of 1947.
All of this set the stage for Gold Star Spouses Day, which began as Gold Star Wives Day-the first of which occurred in December 2010. Two years later a Senate resolution codified Gold Star Wives Day, observed on April 5 each year. Today the event is known as Gold Star Spouses Day, though many still use “Gold Star Wives Day” interchangeably with Gold Star Spouses Day.
If you know any surviving spouse of any person of the United States military who died while a member of the armed forces of our country, or who died after such service because of an injury or disability incurred during such service, please extend your heartfelt gratitude.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is preparing to launch the Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) as part of its continued effort to support Veterans seeking retraining and economic opportunities in response to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
VA in partnership with the Department of Labor published a list of high-demand occupations. The list is available here and includes healthcare, education, media, engineering, and high tech opportunities.
Covered education programs must provide training for a high-demand occupation. GI Bill approved programs of education, excluding bachelor’s and graduate degrees, and VET TEC approved training programs are eligible.
Effective April 4, VA will begin working with education institutions to identify eligible training programs and complete VRRAP participation agreements. VA will publish a comprehensive list of approved VRRAP educational institutions and programs on its website to ensure that Veterans know what training opportunities are available under the program.
VA has 17,250 training spots open for eligible Veterans and will soon announce additional details on how Veterans can apply to participate in VRRAP.
If you have any questions, please contact the Education Call Center at 888-442-4551 between 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday-Friday to speak with a representative.
April is designated as Month of the Military Child – a time to honor the sacrifices made by military families worldwide, with an emphasis on the experience of the dependent children of military members serving at home and overseas.
Like many similar military recognition efforts, the Month of The Military Child is often celebrated “internally” with military communities and military association planning contests, parades, fairs, seminars, and special events centered around the message of the month. It is also celebrated “externally” by many communities, schools, and organizations.
Approximately 2 million military children have experienced a parental deployment since 9/11. There are currently 1.2 million military children of active-duty members worldwide. The average military family moves three times more often than their civilian counterpart. There are nearly two million “total-force dependent children” including more than 900 thousand Army dependents, 400,000 Air Force dependents, nearly 300,000 Navy and approximately 118,000 Marine dependents.
Since many of the April events are sponsored by military communities, to learn more it is best to start your search for events with the base Public Affairs office, Military Family Readiness Centers, Department of Defense Dependent School admin offices, and even on-base Child Development Centers.
With 585 members, Post 178 is the fastest growing post in the 4th District. Attaining 100% of our assigned goal in 2021 marks “Eight-In-A-Row”. Since being Chartered in 2014 the post has never failed to achieve our Annual Membership Goal, in fact, the post has ‘over-performed exponentially.’ The Post has always been “Action Oriented” – not only in growth but also in our mission of service to veterans, youth, and the community.