- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Mission honors homeless veterans
For more than 150,000 veterans, their biggest ordeal may not be the Vietnam War and its aftermath, or dealing with Gulf War syndrome, or even years of discipline in their unit. For them, life's toughest challenge may be living on the streets.
In the District on Veterans Day, the Central Union Mission paid tribute to homeless and other veterans with a special luncheon to draw attention to the plight of the more than 150,000 veterans nationwide who are without a home on any given night. Leon Jones is one of those veterans.
"It's a terrific thing what the mission has done for me and for veterans; it's beautiful because this is a place of God," he said.
Mr. Jones, 57, was in the Army from 1969 to 1971, serving in a field artillery unit while stationed in Germany. He has been receiving assistance from the mission since 1995 and has been homeless since July.
He praised the efforts of the mission and the Department of Veterans Affairs, with one reservation.
"They need to make it easier and less complicated for veterans to get help. I mean, of course they do fantastic things, but for 150,000 veterans, including myself, to be homeless is a travesty," he said.
Retired Lt. Col. David Treadwell, executive director of the mission and a Vietnam veteran, echoed Mr. Jones' remarks.
"What I don't understand is why do [VA officials] feel that some veterans qualify for help and some don't. That's the big question I think this event addresses, because any person who serves should qualify," he said.
"As a former infantry soldier myself, I am devoted to honoring those who have dutifully served America," he said.
More than 308,000 veterans experience homelessness in any given year, according to the VA. About 2,400 homeless veterans live in the District.
About 25 veterans were among the special guests at the Central Union Mission's annual event. Also attending were more than 50 volunteers and clients of the mission, created more than 124 years ago to serve homeless veterans of the Civil War.
Mr. Treadwell presided over the festivities, which included prayers to recognize the service of veterans and a special meal of ham, mashed potatoes, green beans and gravy. Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, gave the keynote speech.
"The Bible says that for those who owe debts, repay debts; and America owes a debt to you," he said.
"Most of us live under the umbrella of protection that you have provided," said Mr. Pence, who did not serve in the military.
Charles "Chico" Jones, 73, served in the Army during the 1950-53 Korean War. He has been coming to the mission for several years, receiving food and clothing and housing assistance. This was his first time at the Veterans Day luncheon.
Although Mr. Jones did not speak at the ceremony, he later said he wished he had, so that he could relate the lessons he learned in combat.
"When I first shipped out, most of us didn't think it was an honorable idea to die for your country, but then I would see a man fall on a grenade to save his friends, and that's when I realized it is an honor to die for your comrades," he said.
At the Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall, another group of lesser-known veterans was honored. The service of women was the theme.
"Women carried the scars of Vietnam just as the men did," said Diane Carlson Evans, founder of the Vietnam Women's Memorial Foundation, who delivered the keynote speech at the observance. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the construction of the Vietnam Women's Memorial.
Eight U.S. servicewomen, all of whom were nurses, were killed in action during the conflict.
Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Pritchette, who served two years as the Army command sergeant major for the Combined Forces Command - Afghanistan, also spoke.
"The women who served during Vietnam are courageous role models and patriots for those of us who serve today," she said.
By Matt Kibbe
The short-term deal will assure long-term overspending
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- House pushes through two-year Ryan-Murray budget deal
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- Jane Fonda Foundation fails to make single contribution in 5 years: report
- All-out war breaks out in GOP over budget pact
- White House improvises again on patchy Obamacare rollout
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- CARSON: Why did the founders give us the Second Amendment?
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Chef Mary Moran discusses the food we eat, where it comes from and what it does for us.
An informed and often humorous take on the world of advertising, public relations and social media. 100% Pure. Not from concentrate.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow