Friday, May 25, 2007

Veterans to Wear Medals Memorial Day

Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Jim Nicholson is urging veterans across the country to wear their military medals on Memorial Day.

"Wearing their medals demonstrates the deep pride our veterans have in their military service," Mr. Nicholson said. "It also reminds all American citizens - especially the young - about the sacrifices our veterans have made for their freedom."

He encouraged veterans to display their medals no matter what they are doing on Memorial Day, but especially when attending public events.

Originally called Decoration Day, the day began as recognition for those who have died serving in the United States armed forces.

Debate surrounds the first official Memorial Day, but it emerged just after the Civil War.

In addition to Memorial Day, Mr. Nicholson also said he believes the wearing of medals will become a tradition at other times. He first urged veterans to wear their military decorations last Veterans Day under a program called the Veterans Pride Initiative.

Mr. Nicholson said he hopes veterans also will wear their medals on Independence Day and when attending other patriotic events.

Major U.S. veterans organizations have endorsed the Veterans Pride Initiative.About 24 million living Americans have served in the armed forces, with nearly 18 million wearing the uniforms of the U.S. military during times of war and conflict.

The VA's Web site at www.va.gov/veteranspride provides additional information, including how to replace mislaid medals or confirm the decorations to which they are entitled.

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