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White House turns its focus to job creation for veterans coming home from war

The White House along with many veterans’ organizations announced support for the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior Tax Credits that will provide military personnel easier entry into the civilian workforce.

The White House said the Returning Heroes Tax Credit incentivizes companies that hire unemployed veterans with a tax credit of $5,600 per veteran. Similarly, the Wounded Warriors Tax Credit would offer employers that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities a tax credit of $9,600.

“No veteran should have to fight for a job at home after they fight for our nation overseas,” said President Barrack Obama. “Congress should pass the Returning Heroes and Wounded Warrior tax credits, but we can’t wait for Congress to act. That’s why today, I am directing my Administration to move forward with three initiatives that will help make it easier for veterans to find jobs when they return home. Unfortunately, we have not yet seen progress in Congress.”

While the overall program is welcomed by veterans across the country, the fact that Washington DC continues to play political football with the military issues angers most Americans.

“Senate Republicans have so far chosen to block these bills and these proposals,” the President said at a press conference earlier today. However, Obama demonstrates that he can’t resist injecting politics into the issue. The President knows it is the defection of a few Senate Democrats that effectively killed legislation.

However, in an effort to run against a do nothing Congress, Obama continues to skirt the Congressional process by submitting a flurry of executive orders. “As Commander-in-Chief, I won’t wait, nor will I let politics get in the way of making sure that veterans share in the opportunity that they defend. If Congress won’t act, I will.”

This political theater shouldn’t detract from the real issues of joblessness for America’s returning warriors. Leading support for the new program is the American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and Veterans of Foreign Wars.

“The American Legion, on behalf of its 2.4-million members, appreciates the efforts of President Obama and Congress to curb the unacceptably high rate of unemployment among the men and women who have selflessly served our country,” said Peter Gaytan, Executive Director of the American Legion. “Tax credits will augment the good and patriotic intentions of employers with tangible, financial incentives. The rewards will be great for them and, most importantly, for the most deserving of our citizens, our military veterans.”

Americans agree, the jobless numbers for veterans remain too high. During the past decade, approximately 3 million service members have transitioned from a military career in to civilian life. This number is expected to increase by approximately one million veterans over the next five years as the wars in the Middle East continue to wind down.

“The men and women who have served and sacrificed for our nation deserve a square deal in the job market,” said Disabled American Veterans National Commander Donald L. Samuels.

The President also launched several programs that will make it easier for veterans to gain employment in the private sector. They include:

Veteran Gold Card: Effective today, Post-9/11 veterans will be able to download the Veteran Gold Card, which entitles them to enhanced services including six months of personalized case management, assessments and counseling, at the roughly 3,000 One-Stop Career Centers located across the country. This could help serve the more than 200,000 unemployed Post-9/11 veterans. The President directed the Department of Labor tolaunch this initiative in his August 5, 2011 speech at the Navy Yard.

My Next Move for Veterans: The Department of Labor will launch My Next Move for Veterans, a new online resource that allows veterans to enter their military occupation code and discover civilian occupations for which they are well qualified. The site will also include information about salaries, apprenticeships, and other related education and training programs.

Creating a Veterans Job Bank: Starting Monday, the Administration will launch the Veterans Job Bank, at National Resource Directory, an easy to use tool to help veterans find job postings from companies looking to hire them. It already searches over 500,000 job postings and is growing. In a few easy steps, companies can make sure the job postings on their own websites are part of this Veterans Job Bank.

This week marks Veteran’s Day and American workers and children will get a day off for reflection. “Standing up for our veterans is not a Democratic responsibility or a Republican responsibility, it is an American responsibility,” Obama finished.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

A day to remember the real heroes – not the Hollywood wannabes

America is great. Old Glory in all her splendor ripples in the wind during war and peace and through it all America is able to turn to its heroes to exemplify honor, valor, courage and to protect the homeland from the evil that seeks her destruction.

This is their day, the heroes, the military brethren that wake up each day and wear the country’s uniform. Most go about their day doing whatever they are asked, some are simple tasks that may go unnoticed, but collectively they are the Armed Forces of the United States and without the little things the entire process could not work effectively.

America has been relatively lucky when it comes to combat on her soil with the exception of Pearl Harbor and 9/11-war has been waged overseas in faraway lands. But with this foreign battlefield comes complacency and a growing number of Americans have lost touch with the Middle East War on Terror.

After Vietnam the U.S. did away with the draft and as such more Americans have no attachment to Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom battles. But for those who continue to serve in the Armed Forces danger lurks daily as they train, fight and win the battle abroad. It’s quietly expected of them.

Along with the implied expectation of honor, service members are asked to carry the burden of war, remember lost soldiers but always think and move forward.

One only needs to visit Walter Reed Hospital in Washington D.C. to see the heroism. On a recent trip to the hospital, I found service members of all ranks and military background displaying honor and valor. Most injured soldiers wanted to get back to their units in the warzone as soon as possible.

The attitude of these brave soldiers was the opposite of what I expected. I remember my first visit vividly. I told myself to stay brave; the soldiers will be in bad shape. However, what I found was an extraordinary group of Americans who opened up to me, reassuring me that everything was going to be okay. They were strong. They were proud. They were American soldiers.

“Some people work an entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference to the world. But the Marines don’t have that problem,” former 40th President Ronald Reagan said. These words lingered in the air that day at Walter Reed Hospital.

America’s young soldiers hold the key to the country’s success or failure. In a modernistic, 24/7 internet, television frenzied society kids are hit with a barrage of explicit, forward-thinking lifestyles that hold no moral values. The “me generation” has arrived in all its un-glory.

Rock stars, actors, actresses and athletes are rewarded with outrageous sums of money in the form of lucrative contracts. Drunk driving, drug possession and usage, bar fights, domestic violence are just a few of the charges that litter their permanent records. These are the “faux heroes” our young kids grow up admiring- again not the right direction for a country in the midst of two wars.

The heroes our young people should be emulating are the nameless soldiers who leave their families for months at a time, fighting an enemy on foreign shores, living in extreme conditions and standing guard- all for very little money.

These soldiers are proud, strong, skilled and unwavering in their faith for America.

I know it seems like a cliché to shake the hand of a service member and thank them for their service, but it really is appreciated.

A recent conversation with a few Navy Seals shed a lot of light on why they do- what they do. It’s certainly not for the money. It definitely wasn’t because they had no other options in life (A big misnomer of the military is filled with poor kids looking for a chance in the military. The majority are kids hail from solid middleclass families who take pride in serving their country).

The Special Forces take pride in their training and their readiness for just about any mission America throws their way. They quietly leave to serve in the most dangerous parts of the world, complete their mission and return home without tickertape parades. These brave soldiers put their lives on the line and do it without any recognition. They are heroes.

Their only request of me, the dreaded media, was to let Americans know they put their heart and souls into protecting this country. They don’t expect money or fame, but admit it would be nice if average Americans didn’t think they were doing this because they had no other choices in life. In fact, it’s the opposite. Many do go to college and the one’s I’ve been lucky enough to meet are well-spoken, smart and have an incredible sense of humor.

These soldiers point to America’s fascination with movie stars and athletes as a sad state of affairs with society and a loss of Patriotism.

On one hand you have Tiger Woods, a billionaire, who misuses prescription drugs and sleeps with anyone and everyone while married, and continues to be touted as the best.

On the other hand you have a young Marine who is on track to be the first living recipient of the Medal of Honor since Vietnam. Dakota Meyer, 22, of Kentucky braved an intense fire fight in Eastern Afghanistan to retrieve four fallen soldiers from the enemy in September of 2009.

The military has only given out one Medal of Honor in the Iraq/Afghanistan War. Marine, Cpl. Jason Dunham received the Armed Services highest award after he threw himself on a grenade in Karabilah, Iraq in 2004 that ultimately took his life, but saved the lives of his unit.

Rear Admiral J.R. Stark, of the U.S. Navy had bold words for the Marines. “Marines I see as two breeds, Rottweilers or Dobermans, because Marines come in two varieties, big and mean, or skinny and mean. They’re aggressive on the attack and tenacious on defense. They’ve got really short hair and they always go for the throat.”

Today is Veteran’s Day- a day to stop and remember those who paid the ultimate price for America’s freedom. It’s a day to be proud to be American and a day to honor the nameless heroes who get up every morning to do their part to keep America safe. Our safety is in their hands.

Lucky for us civilians, America’s soldiers are the best and the brightest in this country and we can all sleep well knowing they are always watching over America- ensuring her liberty and freedom forever.

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