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A Special Salute To Our Veterans

Millions of AARP members have served our country. We want to say thanks

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Veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars that traveled on the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight arrive at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Va., on Oct. 29, 2019.
Christopher Lee/The New York Times/Redux
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Jo Ann Jenkins
Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

This is a special time when we both salute our veterans and give thanks to all who’ve served and sacrificed. With more than 5 million of our nearly 38 million AARP members in the military or retired from service, we’re on a mission to support veterans and their families.

While working with those who have worn our nation’s uniform, we’ve developed a deeper understanding of the unique challenges they face. In response, we’ve created free resources, tools and community programs to help them meet their challenges head-on.

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For example, veterans and their families can struggle with understanding their health care options because of the complex structure of military medicine. Building on our expertise with Medicare, we’ve developed a free Health Navigator tool to help veterans and military families understand how VA health care, Tricare and other options can work together to meet their specific needs.

Likewise, caregivers for veterans face many unique challenges. Working with the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, AARP created a free Military Caregiving Guide containing important, timely information that addresses the specific needs of military families.

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We also hosted a national town hall with Blue Star families that focused on the struggles they’ve encountered during the pandemic. That spurred us to release a new Financial Workbook for Veteran and Military Family Caregivers.

Many veterans are new to the civilian work world when they leave the service. So we’ve created a job board with a dedicated “Veterans Wanted” filter, which helps match veterans and military spouses with interested employers. Our website features additional free veteran-specific resources, too, like the AARP Resume Advisor and other tools aimed at showing former military members how to start a business.

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Criminals use fake veterans charities, service-benefits buyout schemes and bogus job scams to target past and present members of the armed services. Operation Protect Veterans — a joint program of the AARP Fraud Watch Network and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service—helps former service members and their families to protect against fraud. The AARP Fraud Watch Network also offers biweekly fraud alerts and a toll-free helpline (877-908-3360) through which veterans can report suspected scams.

Some veterans might feel like they’ve lost a sense of purpose after leaving the military. Through our 53 state offices and nationwide network, AARP can help veterans and their families find the right opportunity to give back to their communities. This is a critical mission: Former service members volunteer with AARP on the state and community levels more than any other group.

In addition, AARP has partnered with the Honor Flight Network, a nonprofit group that flies veterans and their families to Washington, D.C., to tour the monuments and memorials dedicated to their service. The program tries hard to ensure that rural and terminally ill veterans can experience an Honor Flight. And while visiting landmarks such as Arlington National Cemetery, veterans and their guardians are transported in a wheelchair-accessible bus provided by AARP.

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This November, let’s not only thank those who served and continue to serve, but let’s also pledge to do all we can to support these American heroes every day.

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