Military & Veterans News
Gov. Terry E. Branstad orders flags at half-staff in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Wednesday, 05 December 2012 13:04

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Terry Branstad has ordered all flags in Iowa be flown at half-staff from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Friday, December 7, 2012, in honor of Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

Flags will be at half-staff on the State Capitol Building and on flag displays in the Capitol Complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.

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News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Operation Graditude   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 14:33

Van Nuys, CA -- Operation Gratitude, the non-profit, volunteer-based Military and Veteran support organization, will have dual cause for celebration when the Milestone 900,000th Care Package rolls off the assembly line, and the special gift from the 800,000th Care Package (sent in June, 2012) is delivered to a returning Soldier on Saturday, December 15, 2012 at the National Guard Armory in Van Nuys, CA.

Hundreds of volunteers will be joined by members of the Military, politicians, notable personalities, Motorcycle enthusiasts and representatives from several of the organization's Corporate Friends and Sponsors, to assemble care packages and to honor 800,000th Care Package recipient Spc. Samuel Mancilla, recently returned from Afghanistan, as he receives his custom-built Orange County Choppers' motorcycle donated in partnership with SJO Foundation for Hope and Torque Sports & Performance.

Operation Gratitude Director of Operations, Rich Hernandez, expects the "milestone moment" to happen shortly after 11 am.

The Doubleheader Celebration wraps up the organization's Deployed Troop Care Package assembly for the year, having made and shipped more than 100,000 Troop, Veteran, Family and Battalion Buddy Care Packages in just six months, since June 2012. Operation Gratitude volunteers will continue to assemble Veteran, Battalion Buddy and their new "Care Giver" packages on weekdays through the end of the year (see Volunteer Schedule for hours).

December 15, 2012
Care Package Assembly 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Milestone Assembly & Celebration: 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

California National Guard Armory
17330 Victory Boulevard
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Corner of Victory and Louise; parking available in adjacent lot

Pink's Hotdogs
will be selling lunch on site for all volunteers and guests.

Financial donations are still needed to help pay the assembly and postage expenses of $15 per package.
Every tax deductible donation of $15 sends another care package, personally addressed to American heroes in harm's way, their children anxiously waiting at home, and to Veterans, First Responders, Wounded Warriors and their Care Givers.

Online donations can be made here: Donate .

Donations by check can be made payable and mailed to:
Operation Gratitude
16444 Refugio Road
Encino, CA 91436


About Operation Gratitude: Operation Gratitude annually sends 100,000+ care packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and personal letters of appreciation addressed to individually named U.S. Service Members deployed in harm's way, to their children left behind, to Veterans, to Military families in financial distress due to unemployment, to Emergency First Responders and to Wounded Warriors recuperating in transition units. The organization's mission is to lift morale, bring a smile to a service member's face and express to our Armed Forces the appreciation and support of the American people. Each package contains donated product valued at ~$75-100 and costs the organization $15 to assemble and ship. For safety and security, assembling of packages occurs at the Army National Guard armory in Van Nuys, California. Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than 890,000 packages to American Military members and their children.

Governor Quinn Launches Annual Holiday Card Drive for Wounded Troops PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Ryan C. Woods   
Friday, 30 November 2012 15:48

Encourages Children of Illinois to Support Our Veterans and Servicemembers at Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

CHICAGO – November 30, 2012. Governor Pat Quinn today was joined by local schoolchildren to light the state of Illinois’ annual Christmas tree and launch the Illinois Heroes holiday card drive. Joined by Gold Star families, Governor Quinn encouraged families throughout Illinois to honor our heroes by making holiday cards for servicemembers at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany and in military hospitals across Illinois. Governor Quinn will personally deliver the cards during a visit to troops at LRMC later this year.

“This holiday season, we want to make sure our servicemembers who serve our country away from home receive a warm reminder of how much we love and support them,” Governor Quinn said. “While great distances may separate us, they will always be in our hearts and prayers. We can never thank them enough for their sacrifices.”

This year will mark the eighth time that Governor Quinn has visited Illinois troops and their families at LRMC. The center is the largest American hospital outside of the United States. For more information on how to participate in the Illinois Heroes holiday card drive, please visit

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) Director Erica Borggren and servicemembers from across the state also joined the governor at the tree lighting ceremony.

“Time away from loved ones is just one of the many sacrifices our servicemembers make to protect us,” Director Borggren said. “While we want to do everything we can to support them every day, we know it means so much for a servicemember to receive a holiday card and know how much they are appreciated. As we gather with our loved ones to celebrate the holiday season, we encourage the people of Illinois to keep our servicemembers in their thoughts and prayers.”

Also in attendance were members of the Gold Star Families, who hung ornaments in memory of their sons and daughters on the tree. The choir from LaSalle II Magnet School performed during the tree lighting ceremony and presented cards to Landstuhl.


Gov. Branstad orders flags at half-staff to honor Sgt. Joseph A. Richardson PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Office of the Governor of Iowa   
Thursday, 29 November 2012 15:24

(DES MOINES) – Gov. Branstad is ordering all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff from 5 p.m. Friday, November 30, to 8 a.m. on Monday, December 3, to honor Sgt. Joseph A. Richardson, 23, of Algona, who died while on patrol with the U.S. Army in Paktika province, Afghanistan, on November 16, 2012.

Sgt. Richardson’s funeral will be held Saturday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Cecilia Catholic Church in Algona. Maj. Gen. Timothy Orr, adjutant general of the Iowa National Guard, will be in attendance to represent the Branstad/Reynolds administration.

The governor’s directive applies to all U.S. and state flags under the control of the state. H.R. 692, signed in 2007, requires federal government agencies in the state to comply with the governor’s executive order that the U.S. flag be flown at half-staff in the event of the death of a member of the Armed Forces.

Flags will be at half-staff on the state Capitol building and on flag displays in the Capitol complex, and upon all public buildings, grounds, and facilities throughout the state. Individuals, businesses, schools, municipalities, counties and other government subdivisions are encouraged to fly the flag at half-staff for the same length of time as a sign of respect.


A Veteran's Day Message from Debbie Lee, Gold Star Mother PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Military & Veterans News
Written by Move America Forward   
Monday, 12 November 2012 14:29
It is with great respect, admiration and deep understanding that I write this letter to honor each and every Veteran that has served or is serving our blessed Country! I understand and appreciate all who have given so much for me, so that I could enjoy my daily freedoms.

I was able to sleep well in the safety of my bed last night, because you served.

I was able to pray before my meal this morning in a public place without fearing arrest, because you gave.

I am able to freely speak my mind and voice my opinion without fear of retaliation against me or my family, because you cared.

I am able to stand up for what I believe in and not have a Dictators thoughts and opinions forced down my throat, because you stood up to the call to defend.

I am free to worship the one true God who created me in His image, because you were selfless in your actions.

To each one of you I speak from the bottom of my heart when I say Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!! You are my Heroes and I want to remember and honor you this Veterans Day. Not a single day goes by that I don't think of the sacrifices you and your families have given!

My son Marc Alan Lee was laid to rest on Aug 2nd 2006.  I also remember him today as I do everyday and the sacrifice he made.

Thank you son!  His headstone says "Loved deeply, Deeply loved." The love doesn't go any deeper than that! He loved deeply!

He loved his brothers he served with, he loved me, he loved his family, he loved this nation, he loved his freedoms, he loved God, and he gave.

He gave it all! "Greater love has no one than this, that he laid down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) That's what a hero does. They are willing to give their lives for others if it's required.

I also think of my son Kris who served in the Marines, my son-in-law Christopher who served in the Army and my brother Jim who is serving in the Air Force! Thank you!

Each one of you have deeply loved this country and were willing to give your life if required for this country. Thank you!

Many of you have given your blood, and been wounded for this country. Thank you!

Many of you have  friends, family and brothers at arms who paid the ultimate sacrifice just like my son Marc! Thank you! We will never forget our fallen heroes or their families.

I have traveled around this country, to Iraq and Gitmo speaking out in support of you, thanking and honoring you "Our defenders of freedom." I have been blessed to meet many of you and your families, and have been so deeply touched by your stories and your sacrificial service to this nation. I don't take for granted our freedom which isn't free, it comes at a cost and you willingly paid that for me. So please remember this Veteran's Day that I am your biggest fan and that you are deeply appreciated and loved.

There isn't anything I wouldn't do for you and your families and I know I'm not alone. There is a grateful nation who also honors and remembers your sacrifice and knows that our country is what it is today because you selflessly gave.

I know the price of freedom and I understand the sacrifices that you have given. You have done that for me, and for this nation. You didn't do that for rewards or medals or recognition.

Please join me today as a grateful nation chooses to collectively remember, thank and celebrate our Vets, who they are and what they have selflessly given. I choose to do that every day because they are my HEROES and I am so grateful!

Happy Veterans Day and God bless each one of you!

Debbie Lee
Gold Star Mother and Proud American

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