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For Memorial Day, go online to go 'Go Silent' and honor veterans

May 26, 2013|By Carla Hall
  • Soldier places a small American flag before each grave marker in advance of Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
Soldier places a small American flag before each grave marker in advance… (McClatchy-Tribune )

In a time when we live so much of our lives online, cyberspace has also become a place to honor our fallen servicemen and women on Memorial Day.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America currently has a page on its website for its Memorial Day "Go Silent" campaign. You can pledge online to go silent for a minute starting at one minute past noon. The online page allows you to name a fallen veteran in whose honor you are going silent. Comments by those taking the pledge and the names of the people they are remembering flash across the screen continuously above a stark photograph of well-worn combat boots.

The group is also among the chorus of persistent and strong voices urging the Department of Veterans Affairs to work harder to fix the backlog of veterans' claims that have some waiting more than a year for benefits. In Los Angeles, it can take an appallingly long 600 days. The Times' editorial board has urged the government to rectify this situation as soon as possible.

DATABASE: California’s War Dead

U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, the Democrat whose district includes the Westside, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, has sent a letter to the secretary of Veterans Affairs urging him to create a pilot program at the Los Angeles VA Regional Office to get 50 chronically homeless and terminally ill veterans on a fast track to benefits. 

Indeed, they are among the most in need, but it's worth remembering that the least the government can do for all veterans is to get them the benefits and healthcare they deserve, and get it to them in a matter of weeks or a couple of months, not half years and even multiple years.

On Memorial Day, The Times' editorial page will take up the troubling epidemic of suicide among servicemen and women and veterans.

The "Go Silent" campaign is up and running.

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