Senate Passes National Suicide Hotline Bill

Last Wednesday, the Senate passed S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020. This legislation would designate 9-8-8 as the telephone number for the national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. The existing hotline, which can be reached by dialing (800) 273-8255, is operated by the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and through the Veterans Crisis Line. Both hotlines offer confidential support from qualified responders 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many of the responders with the Veterans Crisis Line are veterans themselves. The VFW thanks Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) and all original cosponsors for introducing this important legislation.

TAPS to Host First Virtual National Military Survivor Seminar

This week, leading up to Memorial Day, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) will be presenting a VIRTUAL National Military Survivor Seminar and Family Program as an online event available to everyone, at no cost. Historically, VFW members have supported this event by being Good Grief Camp mentors or volunteers through the week. The VFW encourages you to check out their exciting program of sessions, care groups, informational seminars, family programming, opportunities to memorialize our military survivors’ loved ones, and special celebrity appearances. The program will begin on Tuesday, May 19, and go through Memorial Day. TAPS supports the spouses, children, parents, siblings, and battle buddies of those who have served and died.

National Geographic Pays Tribute to the 75th Anniversary of V-E Day

On May 21, National Geographic will feature a full day of World War II programming underscored by two prime time original premieres, beginning at 8 p.m. The specials combine thousands of hours of research, interviews, and original footage that give viewers an intimate account of the epic war told through historians as well as those who experienced the war firsthand. The first special, at 8 p.m., is titled “WWII In Europe: Voices From The Front,” narrated by ABC News’ Bob Woodruff, featuring first-person accounts from some of the last surviving veterans of WWII. The second special, at 9 p.m., is titled “Heroes Of The Sky: The Mighty Eighth Air Force.” This special introduces viewers to the courageous men of the legendary Eighth Air Force of the United States.

Memorial Day is May 25

Memorial Day is an American holiday observed on the last Monday in May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, it marks the beginning of the summer season. On May 5, 1868, Gen. John A. Logan, leader of an organization for northern Civil War veterans, called for a national day of remembrance later that month. May 30, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land, Logan proclaimed. The date of the first Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. On the first Decoration Day, Gen. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 union and confederated soldiers buried there.

POW/MIA Update

Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Thomas F. Johnson, 18, was a member of Company B, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio. Interment services are pending.

Army Pvt. Charles Andrews, 25, was assigned to Company K, 3rd Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division. His unit was engaged in battle with German forces near Brandenburg, Germany, in the Hürtgen Forest. Interment services are pending.

Marine Corps Reserve Pvt. Howard E. Miller, 22, was a member of Company A, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force, which landed against stiff Japanese resistance on the small island of Betio. Miller died on the third day of battle, Nov. 22, 1943. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all.


– Charles Castelluccio