A Legacy of Service, Hope for the Future

DAV is the most long-lasting veterans advocacy and assistance group in this country. We’ve watched this country change and grow, and we’ve grown along with it. However, DAV has never wavered in its core mission to fulfill our country’s promises to the men and women who served. We invite everyone, veterans and civilian, men and women, young and old, to join us as we stand up for those veterans who risked it all when they stood up for us, our country, and our ideals.

Ronald Hope, National Commander

Facing the new year with renewed resolve

Thomas Jefferson wasn’t the first great thinker to consider the merits of a democratic form of government responsible to the people it governed. But the words in which he penned this concept have become  etched in the soul of every American: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

The sage of Monticello reminds us we should be “in pursuit of happiness” every day. No one knows that more than those who have been changed by military service. For Jefferson, his pursuit of happiness involved the cultivation of family and friendships, his reading, his deep passion for music, his favorite exercise of walking, and his joy of sharing good food and drink with friends.

So, I encourage us all to enter the new year with a goal of pursuing happiness a little bit every day. You and your families have absolutely earned the right to lead normal, fulfilling lives.

DAV finished 2014 with plenty of accomplishments to be proud of. All of our Departments and most of our Chapters met recruiting goals. The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was finally dedicated. We released a very detailed study that documented the  shortcomings in specialized medical care for female veterans, and the media exposure our organization is receiving is greater than ever.

We enter 2015 with a clear picture in sight, but I need your help to ensure we hit the target. It’s time now, just as it was in Jefferson’s time, to hold our government accountable for its actions. We do that with our votes. I encourage all of you to access the DAV Commanders’ Action Network (DAV CAN) and use this very innovative online tool to tell your elected representatives where you stand on veteran-related issues. It’s our collective responsibility to stay informed on legislation impacting veterans and their families and to constantly remind  Congress and the Administration that we won’t be ignored.

DAV and other veterans’ service organizations, through our annually submitted Independent Budget report, warned the VA, Congress and the White House for a decade that the status quo within the VA was bound to fail. Those warnings often went unheeded. Most veterans are happy with the quality of care they receive from the VA, which is uniquely suited to address illnesses and injuries of veterans. But  getting access to the care has been—and remains—the central underlying problem.

I urge you to join me in telling our elected representatives in no uncertain terms that they must fully fund the VA with no political gimmicks or loopholes that often cause the congressional process to grind to a standstill.

As you can see, we have a lot to be proud of. But there’s also work to be done, and we must do it together. It’s a privilege to serve as your National Commander, and I look forward to continuing our march forward for veterans and their families.

If you want to find out more about the National Commander, you can find his biography here.