Larry Dandridge

Thursday, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day


Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to those who have served our country as a Marine, soldier, sailor, Coastguardsman, or airman. Also, a limited number of World War II Merchant Mariners are officially recognized as veterans and receive Veteran Benefits. On this special day, Americans stand united in respect for veterans. 

As a veteran, I always appreciate it when someone thanks me for serving my country and my fellow military men and women. I also try to remind folks that the best way they can thank me is to be an honest, kind, compassionate, polite, law-abiding, and understanding citizen – a citizen who volunteers and gives back to our great nation and fellow citizens. 

This holiday started as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in our country’s service. It was originally called Armistice Day and it fell on November 11 because that is the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I. In 1954 the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day” in order to account for all United States veterans of all wars. 

Veterans Day is one of 11 federal holidays recognized nationwide by the United States government. All non-essential federal government offices are closed on Veterans Day, and all federal employees are paid even if they receive the day off. Many private-sector employees will also receive paid time off or special holiday pay on Veterans Day. 

Beaufort County has invited the entire community to participate in the Nov. 11 Veterans Day parade in the City of Beaufort. Attending is a good way to say thank you to our veterans. 

The parade starts at 10 a.m., with the lineup of floats, bands, and civic groups, and all who want to march beginning at 8:30 a.m. The parade route starts in front of Beaufort National Cemetery, will head down Boundary Street, curve onto Bay Street, and end at the intersection of Boundary and Bladen Streets. 

Every community group, children’s group, civic organization and community member is encouraged to show their community spirit and our veterans how much they are appreciated. The deadline to submit parade applications was Sunday, Oct. 31. 

In case of inclement weather, the parade will be canceled. For more information, contact the Beaufort County Veterans Affairs Office at 843- 255-6880. 

Many retail businesses, restaurants, zoos, recreation sites, vacation destinations, transportation businesses, and other businesses offer discounts to veterans on Veterans Day. And some businesses offer year-round discounts to veterans. 

The easiest way for active-duty military members, reservists, and members of the National Guard, and military retirees to access veterans’ discounts is to use their military ID card. For veterans who receive VA health benefits, the VA benefits photo ID card is proof of veteran status. If a veteran does not have a VA benefits card, the VA can provide you with a Veterans ID Card. 

Rolled-out in 2017, the VA’s Veterans ID Card program allows all honorably discharged veterans to apply for online and receive by mail a card meant to function as proof of service. Also, some states include veteran status on their state ID cards and driver’s licenses. 

The S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) offers a “Veteran” designation on beginner’s permits, driver’s licenses, and identification cards, if you served honorably in the United States Armed Forces. If you’re interested in adding this designation, you may present one of the military documents showing honorably discharged and meeting other requirements: DD-214, Certificate of Discharge or Enlisted Separation Paper (if discharged before 1950), National Guard Bureau Form 22, or Letter from a Military Reserve Component. Read the information at https:// www.scdmvonline.com/Driver-Services/Military before applying or visiting your local SCDMV office. 

Here are some other ways you can honor our nations fighting men and women, veterans, and their families before, on, and after Veterans Day: 

Volunteer to drive for the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center’s (RHJVAMC) Veterans’ Transportation Network. Call the VA Medical Center Volunteer Services at 843-789-7230 or email VHACHAVAVS@ va.gov to find out how to become a VA Volunteer, who drives the donated buses and government vehicles that provide free transportation to and from the VA Medical Center and its Clinics. 

Help a veteran and their family find out what the Veteran’s VA benefits are and who can help them to file a claim with the VA and the State of S.C. Veterans and their families can receive free help with preparing claims from a VA accredited representative or an employee at a local VA Office. Many accredited representatives work for Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), and may provide help free of charge. There is a State of S.C. Veterans Service Office in every county. See a list of S.C. County Veterans Service Offices at https://scdva. sc.gov/county-veterans-affairs-offices. The Beaufort County Vets Service Office is located at 100 Clear Water Way, Beaufort, S.C. 29906, phone number 843-255- 6880. Call ahead to make an appointment. 

Volunteer at or donate (tax free) to the RHJVAMC, one of its Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC), or Fisher House Charleston. Contact the RHJVAMC Voluntary Services, located at 109 Bee St., Charleston, S.C. 29401. Voluntary Services phone is 843- 789-7230 and the email is VHACHAVAVS@va.gov. Read all about volunteering at and donating money and things to the RHJVAMC at https:// www.charleston.va.gov/ giving/index.asp. The RHJVAMC owns and operates seven CBOCs, including the Clinics in Beaufort, Goose Creek, Trident 2/Ladson, North Charleston, and Myrtle Beach, S.C. and the Savannah and Hinesville, Ga., clinics. 

Larry Dandridge is a retired Lt. Col. In the U.S. Army. He is a Vietnam War era wounded warrior, a combat and 100 percent disabled veteran, a former Infantryman, former Warrant Officer and pilot. Dandridge is also a past Veterans Service Officer, and a current volunteer Patient Adviser, CEO Advisory Council Member, and Patient and Family Advisory Committee Member at the RHJ VA Medical Center, as well as a published author and free-lance writer. He can be reached at LDandridge@earthlink.net. 

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