President's Message: We Reflect on Veterans Day, But Also Look Out For Our Future Generations

President's Message: We Reflect on Veterans Day, But Also Look Out For Our Future Generations
(kali9/Getty Images)

For most, Veterans Day offers a chance to reflect – to look back on one’s own service, or that of a loved one, or a fallen friend. It’s an unbroken chain of patriotism and sacrifice that goes back centuries.

 

Many don’t have far to look: A parent or grandparent who served alongside fellow members of the Greatest Generation, or maybe a literal brother or sister in arms.

 

But as we remember, we must also look forward. This grandfather and Air Force veteran does so more and more as I look at my new grandson. The family business might be in this child's blood, and if it is, he should have the same opportunities as those who served before him. It’s an inspiration to continue the fight to preserve the benefits earned by generations past, which preserves the value of service for future servicemembers.

 

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MOAA has sought to protect and strengthen military benefits for nearly a century. We have fought to halt planned cuts to military medical staffing and facilities as the pandemic rolls forward, and we stand ready to ensure any changes to care in the coming months reflect true efforts at improving the benefit, not just saving money.

 

We’ve joined with fellow military and veteran advocates to push for an expansion of Agent Orange-related benefits for tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans suffering from ailments scientifically connected to exposure. This push comes after last year’s passage of exposure-related benefits for Blue Water Navy veterans – a move that has already resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in earned benefits, well past due, for a deserving group.

 

MOAA also will continue its work on behalf of the current force, from the fight to maintain competitive compensation to strengthening military spouse-employment benefits to expanding availability and scope of child care.

 

These are only some of our advocacy efforts, and while they might not seem connected, they are: Preserving these benefits, past and present, ensures serving in the future force remains a viable path for veterans to come. The next generation will face new challenges, and MOAA will continue its work to protect the promise of a nation to those who fight for its freedom. 

 

On this Veterans Day, thank you for living our mantra of Never Stop Serving and for your membership. And most importantly, thank you for your service. We honor all you’ve endured to keep our country free and safe for those to come.

About the Author

Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret)
Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret)

Atkins is the ninth president of MOAA. Before joining the association, he served in a number of key Air Force positions and has flown more than 4,000 hours in fighter aircraft. Follow him on Twitter: @MOAAPrez