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U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in Westchester today hosting a Veterans Roundtable discussion with leaders of the veterans community as well as other government leaders.
A Veterans Advisory Committee is returning to Westchester and the Hudson Valley.
19th District Congresswoman-elect Nan Hayworth is resurrecting the Committee, which was created by former Congressman Hamilton Fish to address veterans issues for the five counties comprising the region.
Communities across Westchester County honored Veterans both living and deceased for their service to their country.
Many of the services all the more poignant, as servicemen and women continue to fight in wars abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among those holding memorials and tributes were Peekskill,Cortlandt,Yorktown and Scarsdale to remember the heroes of war. The annual Veterans day parade was held in Yonkers.
In New York City, thousands of veterans marched in the 91st Annual Veteran's Day Parade up Fifth Avenue in Midtown. This year's theme was "Freedom Isn't Free," and the focus was on Korean War Veterans to mark the 60th anniversary of the conflict.
Dozens of veterans and community leaders from Cortlandt and Westchester County were on hand Thursday for the third annual "Save the VA Rally" held at the VA Hospital in Montrose.
The event was organized by Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi and the Cortlandt Hudson Valley Veterans' Committee.
Veterans and area leaders shared stories and discussed reasons why the VA Hospital should remain open for vets services in the future.
The rally has been held annually after the Veterans Affairs office in Washington announced it was planning to lease 160 of the campus' 172 acres to a private developer.
Puglisi says instead of downsizing services, what the VA needs to be doing is offering new services for vets across Westchester and the Hudson Valley. Said Puglisi, "We have hundreds of new vets from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars coming home with devastating physical and emotional injuries, PTSD among them. What the VA needs to do is provide more rehabilitation services for the vets returning home, and what better place than the Montrose VA, which is so centrally located?"
Saying the nation's veterans "Deserve nothing less," Congressman John Hall (D-19) Tuesday praised the Veterans Administration after it announced plans to begin using shorter claims forms to simplify the process veterans must submit in order to apply for disability benefits.
The Congressman says the previous form has gone from 23 pages to just 10. The VA has also introduced a new claims form, known as 21-526EZ that further expedites the process.
Hall has long been a proponent of simplifying what he calls "The bureaucratic red tape and hoops veterans must jump through in order to get healthcare and disability benefits." In 2008, he sponsored and Congress passed, a measure establishing a pilot program across the country designed to shorten and streamline the processing time for veterans to have their claims processed.
Assemblyman Greg Ball (R,C,I Patterson) hosted a forum with veterans in Ossining Friday to solicit feedback from Westchester and Putnam vets for his resolution that calls on the Federal Department of Veterans Affairs to abandon plans to sell a large portion of the campus to private developers. Ball was joined by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef (D-Ossining), Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi and Roger Gross, a representative for State Senator Vincent Leibell.
Said Ball, "We need Montrose for vets, not condos. Many of our young men and women are returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan with symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries, multiple amputations and many other pressing medical needs."
The Town of Greenburgh this week will kick off a new initiative at its meeting this Wednesday evening called "The Veterans of Greenburgh Living History Project." Members of the Greenburgh Veterans Advisory Group, led by co-chairs Alan Hochberg and Frank Musantry, plan to work with Ardsley resident Stephen Wittenberg to begin interviewing veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
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