Today in History: The Start of the Korean War

63 years ago, today – North Korea began it’s effort to take over the South Korean peninsula through openly declared war. In the early morning, the North opened fire on the South in an aggressive advance, leading to well over 70,000 South Korean troops either lost or missing in just one day. Though the actual start of the war is still up for debate (some believe the South fired first, while others believe the North executed a planned attack), June 25th is a day for reflection.

2 days later the United Nations, including the United States committed hundreds of thousands of troops to aid South Korea in what would eventually turn into 3-year war. The United States armed forces sent around 300,000 troops, which made up the most dominant portion of the military presence in South Korea.

Today isn’t necessarily a day to celebrate, but it is as good a day as any to say thank you to any Korean War veterans you know. Veterans of a war most often referred to as “The Forgotten War” in American history don’t often receive recognition for their efforts. Most will graciously accept the thanks whether it’s a gift of appreciation, showing interest in stories they may have to tell, or a simple “thank you, sir.”

Happy 238th Birthday to the U.S. Army

It’s no coincidence that the United States celebrates Flag Day on the birthday of it’s Army branch. On this day in 1775 U.S. Congress adopted the Minutemen of Boston as it’s first official United States Army force in order to stand up to an upcoming British assault. Tomorrow marks the day that this branch was unofficially handed to George Washington. The rest is history. On this day of celebration, take a moment to reflect on all the men and women who have served for the same purpose over nearly 2-and-a-half centuries.

Don’t forget to participate in National Flag Day Traditions!

There are a handful of traditions on Flag Day, that can sometimes be swept up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Don’t forget to take a few moments out of your day and observe some of these traditions:

  1. Fly your Flag. Unfold that well-stored flag and get it out in front of your house. Stick your small hand flags in your car windows. Whatever it takes to get the colors up, make sure that flag is flying!
  2. Light it Up. According to U.S. flag rules, the Stars and Stripes may be flown for the full day (and night) as long as it’s lit by a spotlight. Don’t have a spotlight? Try a large flashlight for one night so you can celebrate the entire 24 hours of Flag Day!
  3. Retire Old Flags. With Flag Day comes many official burning ceremonies in local communities. These are often led by local Boy Scout troops, who know the rules and standards of “retiring” a flag through an official burning ceremony. If in doubt, contact your local scout troop and get them that old flag. Even if they’re not participating in a ceremony, they’ll know where to send them.
  4. Observe the Etiquette.  Flag Day is a good opportunity to learn the etiquette and rules behind flying official flags. For example, rules of which many people aren’t aware include:
  • – If you’re flying a flag vertically, the blue/stars should always be on the public viewer’s left.
  • – If you’re flying multiple flags (POW/MIA, State Flags, Club Flags, etc.) the United States Flag is always to be displayed on the public viewer’s left.
  • – The most well-known rule: Always fly the United States Flag higher than companion flags on display.

Happy 238th birthday U.S. Army!

No Comments | tags: , , | June 14th, 2013

Cancer-Stricken Veterans Receive Good Treatment at VA Hospitals

Military veterans who have been diagnosed with cancer can take comfort in knowing that they receive equal and often better care when treated in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals compared to traditional hospitals that accept Medicare.

The study, which was recently published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, showed better survival rates among older cancer patients who received treatment at VHA hospitals compared to those at fee-for-service hospitals.

The research was conducted by scientists at Harvard Medical School.

Cancer types that were studied include colon, rectal, lymphoma, bone marrow and lung cancer. Mesothelioma, a rare cancer caused by asbestos exposure that disproportionately affects veterans, was not included in the study.

Researchers monitored cancer patients between 2001 and 2004.

Positive Results for the VA

According to the study, older patients with colon cancer survived four years and one month, on average, while receiving treatment at the VHA hospitals. Patients of the same cancer who were treated at fee-for-service hospitals survived three years and seven months.

Experts attribute part of this disparity to screenings and early diagnoses conducted by the VHA, which often results in more available treatment options when a disease is caught early.

Non-small cell lung cancer patients noticed similar positive trends favoring the veteran hospitals. Non-small cell is the more common form of the respiratory cancer.

At the VHA facilities, these lung cancer patients survived eight months after their diagnosis, on average. Comparatively, at fee-for-service hospitals, the same group only survived about six months after their diagnosis.

“It seems like the VA is doing a good job of taking care of veterans, which is obviously a good story,” said Mary Beth Landrum, lead author of the study.

No significant differences were noticed among patients with lymphoma, bone marrow, small cell and rectal cancers.

Researchers stated that they couldn’t definitively pinpoint treatment at the VHA as the reason for increased survival. They acknowledge that it is possible that unknown differences among the two study groups may have existed.

Still, some experts cautiously acknowledge that the VHA hospitals appear to be benefiting cancer-stricken veterans.

The Department Behind the Success

The Department of Veterans Affairs is the entity over the Veterans Health Administration, which is tasked with caring for approximately 6.1 million veterans.

All American veterans have access to the benefits provided by the VA. A wide range of health services are available to former servicemen and servicewomen throughout a number of regionally-located centers. According to the VA’s website, more than 1,700 facilities exist across the nation to provide varying forms of veteran assistance.

Based on the findings of the VHA cancer patient treatment study, Landrum believes that some of the advantages that the VHA has over fee-for-service hospitals may stem from the VA’s reorganization of health care that took place during the 1990s, adding that it may be a model for health care reform for the nation.

Whatever the reasons are behind the excellent results at the VHA hospitals, all agree that veterans who served our country deserve the best treatment available.

Tips for Kids with Military Moms

As the military sees a stronger and stronger presence of female soldiers, the likelihood of children having deployed moms on Mothers’ Day becomes higher and higher. Many articles are scattered across the web, offering moms advice on how to deal with deployed children, but few address the perspective of children with deployed mothers.

Here are some tips for the kids out there whose moms are overseas this Mothers’ Day:

1. Send Her Mail

Hearing from family is always a nice escape from the daily duties of the soldier. But this letter is special. Remind mom how much she means to you, and how excited you’ll be to see her soon! Remember, Mom already knows you miss her, so avoid spending too much time talking about how much you miss her, and spend the letter reminding her how proud you are to have her as your mom. Of course, make it yours, but hopefully those tips will get you started on your Mothers’ Day letter.

2. Can’t Send it? Save it!

In some cases, if you got mom a gift, it may not be practical or possible to send it to her while she’s in the field. If you’re the nostalgic type, write her a card, date it, and make sure she knows it was a Mothers’ Day gift. Not so nostalgic? Set it aside in a special place as part of her welcome home package. If neither of those ideas peak your interest, get creative and surprise her with an awesome reveal when she comes home!

3. Skype/Call if You Can

This is arguably the best way to wish Mom a happy Mothers’ Day. Throw on her favorite outfit (if you’re Skyping), give her your best grin, and wish her the happiest of Mothers’ Days! Unfortunately not all moms will have the option to skype or call family while they’re in the field. If you can’t use this option, do your best to make Mom smile with the first 2 options.

When in doubt, you can always grab mom a personalized keepsake from USMilitaryBracelets.com. We’d like to wish all of our deployed moms the happiest of Mothers’ Days!

New Hampshire Welcomes Home Vietnam Vets

For the first time in the United States, veterans who served in the Vietnam War were officially welcomed home on March 30. More than a thousand people attended the ceremony in Concord, NH where speeches from Vietnam veterans, Governor Maggie Hassan, U.S. Representative Carol-Shea Porter, and others gave their thoughts about the long-unrecognized veterans and their service to the United States Military.

Retired solders could be heard throughout the event reliving stories with each other, of the battles in Vietnam and of the battles upon returning home. Many discussed the terrors of war, while others shared stories of the horrendous treatment they received from American citizens upon returning.

Veterans’ Thoughts

I asked a vet about his experience. He never gave me his name, but just simply said, “Solders these days are welcomed home with flags, banners, family, friends, and open arms. When I came home, I landed in the airport, walked off the plane in my uniform, and people spit on me. Literally, they spit on me. The politics were so fierce that people forgot we were human beings.”

I asked another soldier what he thought of the event after he walked away from a pile of reporters. His words easily summarized the event for all the veterans in attendance. He said, “Son, you’re way too young to understand the fierce hate people had for us. It was a lose-lose situation. We left Vietnam, where everyone hated us, and tried to kill us. We can home to America, where everyone hated us and wished we were dead. But, at least the Americans weren’t shooting at us. So, what do I think of this event? Apology accepted.”

What it Means for Future Vets

A lot was said of regretting how people treated the veterans who came home at the end of their tours during the Vietnam War. On point, even more was said of how soldiers now, and in the future, will never have to endure the same treatment. Many of the Vietnam veterans were actively involved in programs designed to help current veterans re-acclimate themselves to civilized society, helping soldiers handle from post-traumatic stress disorder, and manage other post-battle obstacles.

This event was one the first of its kind, with a few others having been held in several states on the 30th. Hopefully the event will inspire other states, districts, and individuals to reach out to veterans and welcome them home.

RallyPoint New Networking Site to Help Vets Find Jobs

Most people realize that in order to get a job in this tough economy, it’s not necessarily “what” you know, but “who” you know. That helps explain the explosive growth of LinkedIn, which now has over 200 million members.

Job seekers have come to see the effectiveness of the networking site in helping to land jobs. Unfortunately, the power of LinkedIn hasn’t seemed to translate to Veterans who are returning to civilian life but still struggling to find a place in the workforce. The numbers keep getting worse.

According to the January report from Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for veterans who served since 2001 jumped to 11.7% compared to 9.1% a year earlier. The general population saw a slight decline in the jobless rate year over year from 8.7% to 8.3%.  The numbers are even worse for female veterans who are experiencing an unemployment rate of 17.1% compared to male vets at 10.5%.

There are a number of initiatives out there to aid in the job search for these veterans including VetJobs.com, Bonds of Courage and FedsHireVets.

Towne Craft Designs is pleased to support the newest and perhaps brightest hope in the battle to help Vets get jobs in the website RallyPoint – a LinkedIn-like networking site exclusively for veterans.

A pair of Harvard educated veterans founded RallyPoint in an effort to help tap into the vast military network and help solve the problem of veteran unemployment. Yinon Weiss and Aaron Kletzing have developed a technology that “revolutionizes the way members of US’s largest and most complicated hierarchical organization — the Department of Defense — connect, develop, and pursue fulfilling opportunities throughout their military careers.”

The powerful site clearly outlines the connections between all units throughout the military and the potential connections that can help each veteran find relevant positions. RallyPoint establishes the unique military identity of each member, helps him or her make connections with other military professionals, presents career options and tracks the activities of other members of the veteran’s network.

The ultimate goal of RallyPoint, according to the site, is to ensure that “prospective employers fully appreciate and understand your military skills and experiences” and to help “secure the civilian job that’s best for you – long before you transition.”

That’s encouraging, and long overdue news for all our job-seeking veterans.

President, VA Making Progress on Veterans’ Mental Health Issues

Did you know that 19 out of 100 veterans of the Iraq war have reported a mental health problem?

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), for Afghanistan war vets the number is 11%. For those who fought in Desert Storm, it’s 10%. For Vietnam Veterans, it’s 30 out of 100.

We at Towne Craft Designs continue to be concerned with the mental health problems suffered by our brave men and women who have fought for us. That is why we were pleased to hear President Obama repeat his support for our veterans in his State of the Union Address.

“We will keep faith with our veterans,” the President announced in his message on February 12, “investing in world-class care, including mental health care, for our wounded warriors; supporting our military families; and giving our veterans the benefits, education, and job opportunities they have earned.”

More encouraging news emerged on February 5 when the VA announced the establishment of a new online program aimed at veterans struggling with post-war mental disorders.

Moving Forward: Overcoming Life’s Challenges, is a web based initiative where veterans can go to get help if they are struggling with a number of issues related to readjustment to civilian life. It is a free program that helps individuals develop problem-solving skills to overcome stress. The step by step approach, designed for veterans and military service members, uses a variety of tools including videos, games and exercises.

A key benefit of the program is the ability of the individual to participate at home and proceed at his or her own pace. This is especially helpful for those who have difficulty getting to a VA center or who prefer to work on their problems in private.

We are also pleased to note that the VA continues to add mental health professionals to deal with this growing problem. According to VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, over 1000 mental health clinic providers have been added since August 2012. The goal is to hire 1600 new providers and 300 administrative staff by June 2013.

We applaud the efforts of the President and VA to continue to provide much needed help in this area for our veterans. It can’t happen fast enough for us.

Veteran’s Day – A Rich and Storied History

Every year on November 11th we Americans celebrate National Veteran’s Day to pay homage to all of those brave men and women who, throughout history, have bravely fought to defend our freedom.
What many people don’t know however is that the very first Veteran’s Day or Armistice Day took place on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, when an armistice between the Allied Nations and Germany went into effect, essentially ending what we have come to know as “the war to end all wars”, World War I. At the time, an “unknown soldier” was buried at both the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and at Westminster Abbey in England. In 1921, following the lead of England and France, the United States buried the remains of a World War I veteran whose name was “known but to God” on the site which is known to us as The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
On November 11, 1919 President Wilson proclaimed November 11th as Armistice Day as a way of reflecting on and paying tribute to the heroism of all who fought in the most devastating and destructive war the world had ever known. Then on May 13th 1938, an act was passed to make Armistice Day a legal holiday in recognition of World War I veterans and also as a day dedicated to world peace. It wasn’t until 1954, after a record number of forces was deployed to fight in World War II and then followed by the Korean conflict that the 83rd Congress amended the act by removing the word Armistice and replacing it with Veteran to honor American veterans of all wars.
The Veteran’s Day celebration in America is marked by the all important tradition of placing a wreath at the Tomb of The Unknowns. At exactly 11 a.m. on every November 11th, in the presence of members from each branch of the military, while Taps is being played, the President of the United States places the wreath at the Tomb.
So this Veteran’s Day, take time out to reflect on the rich history of our great American heroes and to say “thank you” to all those who’s loyalty and dedication to this country has protected our freedom!

No Comments | November 9th, 2012

A Back-to-School Gift to Last A Lifetime

Military schools comprise a long and proud tradition in the service of our country, though the commitment often means separation from family and friends. As summer winds down, young men and women across the nation will be leaving home for the first time to begin careers in the armed forces. Show your support and pride this fall with a personalized keepsake from Towne Craft Designs.
Our stainless-steel bracelets are carefully crafted in a smooth watchband style for men and a braided chain pattern for women, great gifts even for those who don’t wear jewelry. Each piece can be custom engraved with a special message to help your loved ones stay close to home though they may be far away. For a more our elegant presentation, our sterling silver pendants make striking accessories for special occasions, or just for everyday wear. All of our jewelry features gold, silver, or embossed emblem design for any branch of the US Military.
Towne Craft jewelry is the perfect way to send your love and pride across the miles – Check our selection online and take advantage of our free gift wrapping service.

No Comments | August 30th, 2012

Commemorating Peace in the Pacific

US Military Bracelets, Towne Craft Designs, Victory Over Japan

On August 15th, 1945, Japan’s acceptance of surrender terms from Allied Forces marked the end of World War II. The surrender brought a formal close to the most widespread war in history, nearly six years of violent conflict that forever altered the political and social structure of the world. V – J Day commemorates this momentous event, and honors the valiant U.S. armed service members who fought and died for freedom in the Pacific.

This Wednesday is the anniversary of the War’s end. We at Towne Craft Designs ask that you take a moment to remember those who lost their lives in that conflict, and those who returned home forever changed by their experiences. With courage and perseverance, they forged a legacy of dedication and pride that continues to the men and women who still defend our country today.  For all their service and commitment, we extend our unending respect and gratitude.