Op-Ed: Tsongas Honors Veterans
Nov 17, 2017 05:52AM
● By Theresa Gilman
Note: the following information was provided by the office of Congresswoman Niki
Tsongas. We apologize for our tardiness in publication, but the message surely applies
I want to take this opportunity to extend my deep gratitude to all
the veterans across the Third District.
We have a proud tradition of military service in this region that stretches across generations. For decades, in conflicts that have arisen around the world, the men and women of the Third District have answered the call to serve, sacrificing on behalf of our country with unmatched selflessness, commitment and bravery.
But their service does not stop there. Our veterans play an important role in our communities, bringing their skills and military experience back home to fuel the workforce and the innovation that are a hallmark of our region. These men and women remain committed to their community and take every chance to stay engaged.
Veterans Day is a time to thank and honor the women and men of the United States armed services, but our gratitude should not be confined to just one day.
We must continually remember that many of our veterans have returned forever changed from their experience of war. As such, we have a responsibility to provide the resources and support they need and deserve.
Legislators and leaders must prioritize protecting the well-being of our veterans by continuing to pursue initiatives that clear avenues to employment; aggressively ensure access to quality health care; and work to better understand the staggeringly high number of veteran suicides and take effective steps to provide effective mental health services.
Here in Massachusetts, there have been a number of alarming concerns raised recently about the quality of care being provided at facilities like the Bedford VA, with major questions surrounding the death of a veteran in their care. I believe it is appropriate for the VA’s Inspector General, along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI, to conduct investigations, which have already begun.
A primary concern of mine has been that the Bedford VA has been without a permanent director for too long. I have repeatedly requested that VA and Administration officials update me directly with regard to actions they are taking to address complaints raised by the media and by veterans who have reached out to my office directly. I also wrote directly the VA Secretary David Shulkin regarding my concerns, which prompted him to visit the Bedford VA and have a meeting this past weekend on November 4 with me and other members of Congress.
Below you will find further information on these and other veterans-related issues and events that I have prioritized in Washington, D.C. and here in the Third District.
On Veterans Day, and every day, I know I’m not alone in extending my heartfelt thanks to all our servicemembers and their families. I am committed to continuing to work on behalf of all those who wear, and who’ve worn, the uniform of the United States of America.
As always, if you have any questions, concerns or need assistance with any veteran-related agency or issue, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 978-459-0101 or go to www.tsongas.house.gov to send an email. I greatly value your input, especially when it allows me to stay connected to local veterans and organizations providing key veterans’ services. I encourage you to stay engaged and I look forward to hearing from you.
Thank you and don’t forget to thank a veteran this Veterans Day!
My website: http://tsongas.house.gov/veterans/
#BeThere - Veterans Crisis Line: https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
- Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services: http://www.mass.gov/veterans/
- Outreach and Vet Centers: http://www.mass.gov/veterans/health-and-well-being/outreach-centers.html
- Massachusetts Vets Advisor – information on benefits & programs for veterans: https://massvetsadvisor.org/
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: https://va.gov/
- Regional Office Websites Search Engine: https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/
- VA Directory of Veteran Service Organizations: https://www.va.gov/vso/
Toll-Free Frequently Used VA Phone Numbers:
Benefits Information & Assistance
Education & Training
VA Life Insurance
Helpline (Agent Orange & Gulf War)
Headstones (status of claims only)
Telecommunication Device for Deaf (TDD)