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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Storming Washington: Veterans March to the Capitol

As veterans from across the country descend upon Washington, D.C. next week and take part in Veterans March 2006, I thought I'd share a quick story with you today on a few who are taking part (click on 'Article Link' below for that).

If you're going to the event (taking place April 24-26), you can find all the information you need (including program itinerary, guest speakers, lodging help, maps and directions, etc.) online at www.vetmarch2006.net. Resources for those of us who unfortunately can't be a part of this: Catch streaming online coverage beginning at 0900 on Tuesday morning; or tune in to Stardust Radio's coverage. Go, vets, go!

Click on 'Article Link' below tags for more...

From the Times (out of Northwest Indiana). Reprinted in its entirety for educational purposes:

One bishop is headed to Washington D.C., where he will join thousands of veterans lobbying for veterans' rights. James Wilkowski, Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest, said social justice is a moral obligation. He wants to encourage the government to take better care of those who have served. Wilkowski represents Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. Wilkowski, whose home church is Holy Family Church in Chicago, will be one of many keynote speakers at the march. He will also serve as the chaplain for the event.

Veterans March 2006 will be April 24, 25 and 26. Wilkowski said about 10,000 will march. Dale Peters, Republican head of the Veterans of Progress in Illinois, also will participate in the march. "We have served and we are treated like second class citizens," said Peters, Darien, Ill., resident. "Every veteran is my brother."

Peters said he will march with thousands of other veterans to support those who have served and experienced what conflict is like firsthand. "(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a real disease. American children are taught not to kill and then they see this stuff," Peters said. "Our health care has dropped. Our wounded troops are not being taken care of."

Wilkowski said his intent is to do what is necessary to help veterans. He is asking the community to send him letters that he hopes to present to government officials in Washington. "I want to personally present these letters to the Secretary of Veteran Affairs," Wilkowski said. "There is sort of an indifference within the American public regarding the needs of veterans. It's really time for us to defend the defenders."

Wilkowski said he wants to provide a voice for those who have died serving their country. He said cutbacks on veteran benefits impact everyone who has served, particularly the aging population. "Sadly, I think our veterans are always on the bottom of the priority list. What we are finding is that the VA and the government is cutting back," Wilkowski said. "I think we need to start getting our priorities realigned."

Wilkowski encouraged all community members, whether they are veterans or not, to write letters regarding the importance of providing health care to veterans. "Please take ownership of the issue of veterans in our country," Wilkowski said. "Please embrace the needs of our veterans because we have what we have thanks to them."

Although I can't be there physically, I'm there in spirit with you all. All of my best for a successful petitioning of our government!

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