Guest Commentary: Aug. 7 is Purple Heart Recognition Day

By Larry Zimmerman

Secretary, SD Department of Veterans Affairs

At a time when American troops are bravely serving their country, we are reminded of the sacrifices of previous generations of Americans who risked or gave their lives for the freedom we all enjoy today.

August is full of opportunities to honor our veterans. This year legislation was enacted designating Aug. 7 as “Purple Heart Recognition Day” – a working holiday dedicated to remember and recognize those members of the Armed Forces of the United States who have earned the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in combat.

So, as Aug. 7 approaches, let us not forget the men and women of our armed forces who have received the Purple Heart and who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to preserve our freedom.

Another great opportunity to thank our military personnel, our veterans, and their families is to attend Veterans Day at the South Dakota State Fair on Aug. 29. This is a special day to recognize the sacrifices and successes of those who have served in the armed forces, both past and present.

At 10:30 a.m. there will be a “Salute to Veterans” on the Northwest Energy Freedom Stage (Recreation Avenue). Representatives from the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs, the veteran’s service organizations and the county and tribal veteran’s service officers will have an informational booth in the Veterans Building on Flag Avenue. This booth will be staffed throughout the span of the fair and will give veterans an opportunity to talk to experts about benefits and programs available to them.

Veterans attending school this fall at one of South Dakota’s universities or technical schools, please remember to make contact with the school’s certifying officials. They are a great resource to assist you in transitioning from soldier to student.

South Dakota is fortunate to have more than 75,000 veterans – 75,000 men and women who have proudly served this country and deserving of benefits they have earned. I challenge each of you to reach out to veterans in your family and ask them, “Have you ever visited with your veteran’s service officer to see if you qualify for any benefits?” Encourage them to make that contact.

A listing of the veterans service officers can be found at http://mva.sd.gov/vet_service_officers.html.

It is important that we honor the men and women in uniform who have made tremendous sacrifices in the defense of our nation and who remind us of their valor and service.

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