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Veterans Journal: Honoring service and sacrifice of American patriots on Memorial Day
Providence Journal - 5/26/2019
May 26--"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends." -- John 15:13
Memorial Day was first observed as Decoration Day in 1866 to commemorate those who died in the War Between the States with the placement of flowers as grave decorations. It is a day set aside in deference to American patriots who pledged and gave their lives to support and defend the Rule of Law enshrined in our Constitution.
Our nation's founders clearly understood that the burden of sustaining liberty would be calculated in human sacrifice. As John Adams noted, "I am well aware of the toil and blood and treasure that it will cost to maintain this Declaration [of Independence] and support and defend these States."
Since our nation's founding, more than one million American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have paid the ultimate price in defense of our nation, and it is their final sacrifice that we honor with solemn reverence today. Today, many Americans place flags on the graves of the deceased, from individual small ones on each grave to avenues of larger flags flanking both sides of a cemetery's main entrance road, such as what you find in the Rhode Island Veterans Cemetery in Exeter. Many of the flags are donated by the next of kin from atop the caskets of veterans buried there.
More than 3.7 million Americans, veterans of every war and conflict, from our Revolution to the Global War on Terror, have been laid to rest in these hallowed shrines. The quiet serenity, pristine nature, and strict adherence to time-honored military service traditions make our cemeteries the healing places where families and friends can remember and honor those who gave, in President Lincoln's words, "the last full measure of devotion." Who has not been choked up by the mournful playing of "Taps" and the rifle volleys to commemorate for the final time the service of a veteran?
So, on this last Monday in May, please join with millions of Americans to honor the service and sacrifice of these uniformed patriots by participating in respectful commemorations for these men and women. Fly the flag at your home, thank a living veteran for his or her service, visit the Veterans Cemetery in Exeter and leave a flower at a grave, attend a parade, explain the meaning of what today means to the younger generation, observe a moment of silence and remember how lucky we all are to be living in a country where our freedom and security has been given to us by those who have served and those who made the ultimate sacrifice and continue to do so today. Veterans, thank you for your service.
VA to provide veterans access to health data on Apple iPhones
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will release new capabilities this coming summer providing veterans who receive care at VA with the ability to access their personal medical data using the Health Records on iPhone feature from Apple.
Veterans will see an aggregated view of their allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications, procedures and personal vitals in the Health app on their iPhone. Health Records on iPhone also brings together hospitals and clinics outside VA with the existing Apple Health app. Veterans can see their available medical data from multiple providers, including VA, whenever they choose.
This new capability has been made possible through the recently announced Veterans Health Application Programming Interface (Veterans Health API) which allows veterans to access their health records within innovative applications on their mobile devices or in their web browser.
Veterans with Apple iPhones will be able to access the app on their device startint this summer. After a visit to a VA health care facility, the participating veteran's Apple device will automatically receive updated health record information within 24 hours from the visit using the built-in Health app from Apple on their iPhone.
Beyond the use of Apple iPhone, VA looks forward to partnering with other mobile platforms to bring similar capabilities as part of its commitment to digital health care modernization. For more information about the Veterans Health API, go online to developer.va.gov/explore/health.
Events of interest to veterans
* Tuesday, May 28, noon to 1 p.m., Work Incentives Planning Information Session for veterans who receive SSI or SSDI and are thinking of going back to work part-time, Providence VA Medical Center-Trailer 35 on Coast Guard Way, 830 Chalkstone Ave., in conjunction with Rhode Island College's Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities, to learn about employment support and work incentives.
* Friday to Sunday, May 31 to June 2, 3-day event, Rhode Island Veterans of Foreign Wars annual convention, Radisson Hotel, 2081 Post Rd., Warwick.
* Saturday, June 1, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Veterans of Foreign Wars Resource Fair, Radisson Hotel Providence Airport, 2081 Post Rd., Warwick. For more information call R.I. Office of Veterans Affairs director Kasim Yarn at (401) 921-2119, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The Second Indianhead Division Association is searching for anyone who served in the Army's 2nd Infantry Division at any time; for information about the association and its 98th annual reunion in Tucson, Arizona, from Sept. 18 to 22, call Bob Haynes at (224) 225-1202 email email@example.com or go online to 2ida.org.
The R.I. Special Forces Association Chapter 48 Memorial Day ceremony, 8:30 a.m. Monday, May 27, followed by a 9:30 a.m. breakfast buffet at the Homestead Restaurant, 750 South County Trail, Exeter.
Sampson Air Force Base Vets Association Rhode Island Squadron luncheon meeting, 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 28, Twin Oaks Restaurant Billy'sRoom, 100 Sabra St., Cranston, for all Air Force veterans.
American Legion Smithfield's Balfour-Cole Post 64, 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 29, 170 Pleasant View Ave., and new members or interested veterans are welcome to come for a light meal at 6:30 p.m.
Send veterans' meeting and news items to George W. Reilly at VeteransColumn@gmail.com
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