In fact, many Veterans Affairs benefits are already being received by reservists. This begs the question that if the law already implies that veterans are defined as those eligible for VA benefits by virtue of their service, and reservists are receiving benefits by virtue of their service, they too can be considered veterans under this definition.
Some opponents of this legislation feel the bill would belittle or devalue the sacrifice that active-duty service members have made.
No matter what branch of the armed services, there are plenty of ways to tell who’s been to the front. From combat badges to awards with a “V” (for acts of valor) to battle-command pins and even combat commissions, there are plenty of ways for full-time active-duty troops to be honored and thanked for their courageous acts.
S. 491 wants to help reservists who are unable to do some of the simplest things veterans can do. To someone who’s made the decision to answer the call, the least Congress can do is support a law that would allow them to salute a flag and be identified as someone who made the choice to stand up for their nation at a time of war.
We join other organizations and members of the Military Coalition — a group of 34 military, veterans and uniformed services organizations — in standing by Pryor, Boozman and Wyden in getting this legislation passed, alone or as part of a veterans bills package this fall. What a wonderful gift and honor it would be to recognize those reservists who signed up, knowing the risk, to be allowed to be called veterans this Veterans Day.
Anthony A. Wallis is director of legislation/government affairs for the Association of the United States Navy.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.