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In this edition – The Ripon Society : The Ripon Society

On Veterans Day, we are releasing our 4e Annual special edition of Ripon’s Forum to commemorate the holiday. This year’s edition features personal essays written by four members of Congress who also served in uniform and were asked to answer a simple question – “What does Veterans Day mean to me?”

Those writing include: U.S. Representative Greg Steube (FL-17), who enlisted in the U.S. Army after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and served from 2004 to 2008 as an airborne infantry officer and JAG Corps Officer; August Pfluger (TX-11), who served his country in uniform for nearly two decades, commanding hundreds of combat airmen and serving in the Pentagon and NATO command; Mariannette Miller-Meeks (IA-2), who joined the military at age 18 and served 24 years as a soldier, nurse, and doctor; and William Timmons (SC-2), who is a JAG officer and captain in the South Carolina Air National Guard.

Steube, who represents an area of ​​Florida devastated by Hurricane Ian, paid special tribute in his essay not only to veterans with whom he served in uniform, but also to veterans who are on the ground in his district for help people recover and rebuild. their life today.

“I would be remiss if I did not mention the power of veterans in my district over the past few weeks,” he wrote. “In the wake of Hurricane Ian, we saw countless groups of volunteers sending supplies and manpower to Southwest Florida. Among them is Team Rubicon, a group of former military veterans who help Floridians clean up debris, clean homes, and cover roofs with tarps. Their mission statement is “to help people through their worst day,” and I think that phrase captures the true sense of service that every veteran feels. Those who have served our country in uniform know that service does not end upon release.

Also contributing an essay to this 4e Special Annual Veterans Day Edition of Ripon’s Forum is U.S. Representative Nancy Mace (SC-1). A member of the Veterans Affairs Committee and the daughter of an Army general, Mace graduated magna cum laude from The Citadel, South Carolina’s military college, where she was the school’s first woman to graduate. her cadet corps in 1999. In her essay, she pays tribute to women who she notes currently make up 18% of the Armed Forces and constitute the largest growing population of veterans, but, she adds , face “significant challenges” when serving in uniform.

“Women are 28% more likely to leave the service than their male counterparts,” writes Mace, “citing issues such as lack of family planning support, retaliation after sexual assault, lack of female mentorship in the senior management and sexism in general. Once they separate from the military, women face more unique and difficult challenges, including accessing the benefits they have earned, finding meaningful employment, and reclaiming their time in the military…Our female veterans volunteered to lay down their lives for our nation and deserve the unwavering support of the United States government and the American people through health care, education, and support. other well-deserved benefits.

Will Hubbard of the nonprofit group, Veterans Education Success, writes about another challenge facing veterans today involving the GI Bill and ongoing concerns about fraud in the program. “A shocking number of six of the 10 schools that received the most GI Bill funds from 2009 to 2017 were subject to enforcement action,” Hubbard reveals. “This summer, a school was cut off from the GI Bill after the FBI raided several locations. Many former students have described the school as a bona fide “cult.”

Homelessness is another chronic issue facing veterans. According to Ann Oliva, CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the situation has improved over the past decade. “Between 2010 and 2019,” she writes in an essay for this special edition, “the number of homeless veterans was cut in half, exceeding the progress of all other homeless subpopulations.” But in recent years, she continues, the problem has worsened. “The most recent federal data available shows that between 2019 and 2020, there was a 6% increase in homelessness among veterans. We can’t have that.

Finally, this special edition focusing on those who have served our country in uniform, this latest Ripon Forum also features a debate between Kristen Bennett, CEO of the Service Year Alliance, and Doug Bandow, Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute, about national service and whether it should be a requirement in American life.

We hope you enjoy this special edition of our journal and encourage you to contact us with any comments or questions you may have.

Lou Zickar, Editor – louzickar@riponsociety.org

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