- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dear Sgt Shaft:

Two questions please?

1. Is burning of U.S. flags now still appropriate? I heard that because of the chemicals used in the manufacture of flags, it was no longer the acceptable method.

2. A week after 9/11, over 20 million foreign U.S. flags were imported to the U.S., 18 million from China!

In an attempt to show our patriotism, we bought all of these flags. Many of these turned orange, gray and purple, and shredded easily because of their inferior production.

There are still millions of flags imported here from China and sold in major stores, even military flags, and the hand-held ones that children wave at parades.

How can we make the public aware that they could be buying a Marine, Army or any branch of the armed forces flag that was made in China?

Maybe it would be proper to burn all these flags?

Your comments please,

Ret Army Res. Sgt. R. L.

Dear Sgt. R.

The U.S. flag code states that when a flag is in such a condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, it should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferable by burning.

Many veteran and civic organizations will properly dispose of a flag at no cost.

I can’t comment on your second statement.

I do know that the Veterans Flag Depot is a good choice for American-made flags and flagpoles at wholesale prices.

All of their U.S. flags, military flags, state flags and most other flags and items are made in the U.S.A.

Shaft notes

Kudos to Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii Democrat, for introducing a bill to extend the age limit for coverage of veterans’ dependents through the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) to the level set by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, families with private health insurance coverage can keep their children on their plans until age 26.

CHAMPVA was established in 1973 to provide health care services to dependents and survivors of certain veterans. CHAMPVA enrollment has grown over the years, and now covers more than 336,000 unique beneficiaries. Under the current law, dependent children lose eligibility for CHAMPVA at 23 years old if they are full-time students or 18 years old if they are not.

An attaboy to the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs led by Chairman Bob Filner, California Democrat, for approval of six bills that would improve benefits and services to veterans provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

1.  H.R. 6132 -– The Veterans Benefits and Economic Welfare Improvement Act of 2010 (Filner)

This comprehensive bill would establish a transition program for new veterans not eligible for other employment aid programs and who had a military occupational specialty of limited transferability to the civilian job market.

The bill includes provisions to improve the disability claim system by extending the 120-day limit for the filing of an appeal to the Court of Veterans Appeals after a final decision of the Board of Veterans’ Appeals upon a showing of good cause for such time as justice may require. 

The bill would also increase the pension amount for Medal of Honor recipients; establish an award program that will permit the VA to recognize businesses for their contributions to veteran’s employment, and protect veterans from losing their non-service connected pension benefits because they received payments to cover expenses incurred after an accident, theft, loss or casualty loss.

2. H.R. 3685 -– Promotion of the VetSuccess Internet Website (Stearns)

This bill would require the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to include on the home page of the Department of Veterans Affairs website a hyperlink to the VetSuccess website.

3. H.R. 5360, as amended –- The Housing, Employment, and Living Programs for Veterans Act of 2010 (Herseth Sandlin)

This comprehensive bill improves vocational rehabilitation, internship, work-study and on-the-job training programs offered by VA. The bill provides support for programs and facilities that provide services for homeless women veterans and their families. The bill also improves specially adapted housing assistance.

4. H.R. 5630 -– Qualification for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Employment Coordinators (Boozman)

This bill would provide qualifications for vocational rehabilitation counselors and vocational rehabilitation employment coordinators employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

5. H.R. 3787, as amended -– Veteran Status for Certain Reserve Components (Walz)

This bill would recognize the service in the reserve components of certain persons by honoring them with status as veterans under law.

6. H.R. 5993, as amended – SAVINGS Act of 2010 (Halvorson)

This bill would ensure that beneficiaries of Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance receive financial counseling and disclosure information regarding life insurance payments.

The bills will next be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives.

Send letters to Sgt. Shaft, c/o John Fales, P.O. Box 65900, Washington, D.C. 20035-5900; fax 301/622-3330, call 202/257-5446 or e-mail sgtshaft@bavf.org.