Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

Military museums with can't-miss virtual options

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Many museums today – military and veterans museums included – incorporate virtual components and rotating exhibits to complement their physical locations. With the coronavirus pandemic spreading, forcing museums to close and people to stay indoors, now would be a perfect time to see what some have to offer online … and maybe make plans for a future visit.

National WWI Museum and Memorial, Kansas City, Mo.: current online exhibitions include “The Rise of Giving: American Philanthropy and WWI,” “War Fare: From the Homefront to the Frontlines” about the effects of food on the war, and “Curator's Tour,” a “narrated, immersive tour of the galleries.” The museum also offers an online collections database, and educational resources. And its bimonthly program “Mrs. Wilson’s Knitting Circle” will go virtual on April 4. Along with the knitting, public program specialist Camille Kulig will discuss the rise of modern art in the 1910s and 1920s. RSVPs by knitters and the general public are encouraged at

National World War II Museum, New Orleans: Among the options are “Road to Tokyo,” the U.S. Merchant Marine Gallery and “The D-Day Invasion of Normandy.” Educator resources are available, and distance learning for all ages.

National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Columbus, Ohio: A gallery of this newer museum is on offer. The education section offers curriculums for grades PK-8.

National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.: Exhibits that cover the whole of the Navy’s long history include “The Forgotten Wars of the Nineteenth Century,” “Steel Navy” and “Covert Submarine Operations.” Distance learning options include school curriculums.

Pritzker Military Museum and Library, Chicago: A virtual tour of the museum is available (must have, or download, Adobe Flash Player 9/10 or higher). Pritzker offers many ways to explore military history - from past exhibits, to digital archives, to reading lists curated by the five service branches and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Cold War Museum, Warrenton, Va.: Although somewhat off the beaten path, this museum offers a host of online exhibits, including “Patches Collection” to “Cold War Artwork” to “KGB/Stasi Prison.”

And, as always, the virtual tour of the Emil A. Blackmore Museum at American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis is available at

Be sure to keep up with the museums on social media for the latest on new and ongoing virtual options.

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Legion posts answer urgent call for blood drives

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The coronavirus pandemic has caused an urgent need for blood donations. And American Legion posts are stepping up to host and assist with blood drives, while adhering to safety protocols established to halt the spread of the deadly virus.

Among the upcoming blood drives with American Legion involvement:

• In Troutman, N.C., American Legion Post 401 is hosting a blood drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Post members are working with the Red Cross to ensure social distancing and other measures are followed.

• American Legion Hollywood Post 43 will be transformed into a blood donation center in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The post is teaming up with UCLA Health and the UCLA Blood and Platelet Center for a blood drive Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In a new video message to American Legion members, National Commander Bill Oxford reminds them of the crucial need for blood donations. ”Please consider a blood donation to support these efforts,” said Oxford, who has donated eight gallons during his lifetime. “Additionally, I would encourage American Legion posts to consider working with your local Red Cross to promote — or even host — a blood drive.”

The Red Cross is encouraging donors to keep appointments to not only collect blood from healthy individuals but to ensure social distancing and other safety measures are followed. The Red Cross follows traditional safety procedures such as wearing and changing gloves often, disinfecting donor-touched areas and sterilizing tools before each donation.

Additionally, the Red Cross has updated other policies for blood drives. Those include:

• Checking the temperature of staff and donors before entering a donation center to make sure they are healthy.

• Providing hand sanitizer for use before entering the center, as well as throughout the donation process.

• Following social distancing practices between donors including donor beds, as well as waiting and refreshment areas.

• Increasing enhanced disinfecting of surfaces and equipment.

“We are so very grateful to The American Legion and all those who scheduled upcoming appointments and blood drives to help meet the immediate patient needs,” American Red Cross National Partnerships Director Donna M. Morrissey said. “There remains an ongoing need for platelet donations due to their short five-day shelf life. There is no known end date in this fight against coronavirus and the Red Cross needs the help of blood and platelet donors and blood drive hosts to maintain a sufficient blood supply for weeks to come.”

If you are able to host a blood drive, please reply online at A representative from the local office will then get back to you shortly.

To schedule an appointment to donate blood, please visit here.

Morrissey expressed her gratitude to those who have donated or who will be donating.

“In times of crisis, the Red Cross is fortunate to witness the best of humanity as people roll up a sleeve to help those in need. We greatly appreciate the generosity of the public to help stock hospital shelves.”


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American Legion Birthday special event another success for TALARC

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American Legion amateur radio stations and members across the nation participated in the American Legion 101st Birthday special event operation conducted on March 14. Brian W9IND joined the crew at the National Headquarters station K9TAL for the day’s operations. In South Dakota and Maryland, respectively, longtime volunteer net operators Bill KIØCW and Everett WA3DVO were joined by the members of Maryland Post 275 station N3TAL. Kenny KA3DCO of Cambridge, Md., Post 36 and the Easton Amateur Radio Society K3EMD out of Easton, Md., did really well as they chalked up their third special event with TALARC. Together we made 456 contacts on 20M, 40M, UHF/VHF, IRLP and EchoLink during the six-hour event. And on top of that, several TALARC stations operated by American Legion amateur radio operators actively relayed contacts from ham operators all over the United States and Canada who were trying to reach K9TAL.

We will honor all those relayed QSOs with a certificate upon request, of course. The special event certificate is available to all who contacted any K9TAL station during the event. To get yours, send a self-addressed 9x12 stamped envelope to:

The American Legion Amateur Radio Club, c/o The American Legion, 700 N. Pennsylvania St., Indianapolis, IN 46204. The certificate is the same for contact with any of the K9TAL net control stations, regardless of location – they have relayed the information to us here in Indianapolis. Please include your approximate contact time, frequency and mode. We collect QSL cards as well and will return our own in exchange.

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Coronavirus Spreads in Veterans’ Home, Leaving ‘Shuddering Loss for Us All’

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The mayor of Holyoke in Massachusetts confronted the superintendent of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home after hearing rumors that infections were spreading.

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A month of hope for children and youth

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April is the month we raise attention to American Legon programs and services for children and youth. For Children & Youth Month this year, we need to raise more than attention. The coronavirus pandemic has created an urgent need to financially assist military and veteran families with children at home, whose lives have been turned upside-down in recent weeks. They need our help now, and they will need it for months to come.

American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance grants provide immediate debt-free cash for military and veteran families with minor children at home when food, shelter, utilities, clothing or other basic needs cannot be obtained, due to hardships beyond their control. And this pandemic has been beyond anyone’s control.

Last winter, more than $1.1 million in TFA grants were disbursed to U.S. Coast Guard families in need during the federal government shutdown when USCG paychecks were delayed. “It helped them not get behind on their rent,” Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charlie Ray said after the TFA grants were delivered. “It helped them put food in the refrigerator.”

Military and veteran spouses who have lost jobs or business income due to the coronavirus outbreak are now trying to figure out how to put food in their refrigerators and keep a roof overhead while a loved one serve in uniform, or did so honorably when called upon in the past. There is no doubt these patriotic American families need and deserve our help.

We can only provide that help through the American Legion Veterans and Children Foundation. The foundation supplies the funds necessary to assist needy military and veteran families with children at home.

In times like these, The American Legion Family steps up. I am asking all of us to do just that this month – American Legion Children & Youth Month – because the only thing kids and parents across our nation can count on in the coming weeks is uncertainty, financial and otherwise. Let’s turn April from a month of uncertainty into a month of hope.

Please help us help those who need us most with a tax-deductible gift to the American Legion Veterans and Children Foundation. Or visit

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Did you know?

The issuance or replacement of military service medals, awards and decorations must be requested in writing.

Requests should be submitted in writing to the appropriate military service branch division of the NPRC. Standard form (SF 180), available through the VA, is recommended to submit your request. Generally, there is no charge for medal or award replacements. For more information, or for the mailing address of the military branch office to submit your request to, call 1-86-NARA-NARA (1-866-272-6272) or visit the NPRC website at