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Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs Advisory Committee to Hold Final Meeting of 2021 - 11/17/21

The next meeting of the Advisory Committee to the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs will be held Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, via Zoom. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. and runs until noon.

The committee is made up of veterans appointed by the governor to provide counsel on veteran issues and represent veteran concerns across Oregon. Its nine members serve in a vital advisory role to the director and staff of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

ODVA’s Reports to the Advisory Committee are available to the public on the ODVA website: https://issuu.com/odva/stacks/38107bb40c054695831edf5634865ca4  

This meeting is being held virtually due to travel and gathering size restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic. The public is invited to attend.

To attend:

You will need to pre-register using this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAkc-GvrD8oH9XIpghBztEeeHkzQXr8zubL

Pre-registration is required. Once pre-registered you will receive the meeting link.

Join by Zoom via Telephone: Dial 1 (253) 215-8782. When prompted, enter the meeting ID: 849 4872 4251# and passcode: 504986#

You will be prompted to please state your first and last name.

Town Hall:

There will be a Town Hall at the end of the business meeting in which we invite you to ask questions of the committee and director. This time is set aside for individuals to bring up broader veteran community issues. Members of the community are also invited to submit written public comments to the Committee at the following email address: vaac@odva.state.or.us.

More information can be found online at www.oregon.gov/odva/Pages/advisory.aspx or to contact the Advisory Committee, please email vaac@odva.state.or.us.

ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick.
ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick.
MEDIA RELEASE: Veterans Day 2021 Message from the Director of the Oregon Department of Veterans' Affairs (Photo) - 11/01/21

[This is an early release of Director Fitzpatrick's Veterans Day message. Media partners are welcome to publish at your convenience according to your publication schedules.]

And just like that, the calendar, once again, turns to Veterans Day. 

For me, like many of my fellow veterans, Oregonians and Americans, it is a time to reflect and take stock. One year ago, we “gathered” for a Veterans Day unlike any before it, in a virtual environment that gave us some flexibilities that we never had before, but we had to forego the warmth of being with other people. 

Now, as we cautiously return to an environment more closely resembling normalcy, it’s appropriate to take stock of all that we have to celebrate. We as a country have much to be thankful for, and much of it is thanks to our veterans who fought for freedom and stood guard over our peace, and to our fallen heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice.

We remember our World War II veterans, the sadly dwindling “Greatest Generation,” who have much still teach us about the importance of self-sacrifice to a greater cause. Some 80 years ago, these brave men and women left their homes and families to answer the call — not only for their own country, but the world.

We honor our Korean War veterans, who fought in the “Forgotten War,” which came so soon after the Second World War that it is often overlooked. In a foreign land, they endured freezing conditions and disease in addition to an unrelenting enemy, often against impossible odds, and made a lasting contribution to world peace and prosperity.

We thank our Vietnam War veterans, who, regrettably, did not receive the heroes’ welcome that they deserved upon returning home from battle, and this remains a painful stain on our national memory that we must work hard to erase. Yet, these remarkable men and women refused to turn their backs on their fellow veterans. Vowing that another generation of service members would never face what they had to endure, many of them remain engaged in serving their fellow veterans.

We remember our veterans who represent the peacetime era, serving under the near-constant specter of the Cold War and prepared to confront any enemy that might threaten national security around the globe. Many of them engaged in so-called “small wars” in Grenada, or other military operations in far-flung nations such as Bosnia, Somalia and a host of other nations on the African continent.

And, we honor our veterans of the conflicts of the Middle East and Afghanistan. Many of these veterans entered the Armed Forces in the wake of the terrible attack on September 11, 2001, and fought and sacrificed to ensure that the United States would not experience similar attacks.

Thankfulness, gratitude, honor and remembrance: This is the duty and responsibility of all Americans who have not worn the uniform — and it is these principles that are embodied in the more than 75-year tradition of Veterans Day. 

Originally known as Armistice Day, the occasion celebrated the Allied victory in World War II. It was motivated by a simple, two-word phrase from the heart of our country: “Thank you.” Gratitude is a simple yet powerful thing. It has a way of humbling us, bettering us and reminding us of what’s most important. 

We have much to be thankful for: The freedoms and way of life that we have long enjoyed, the peace that has been secured for our children and grandchildren — it is our veterans and service members we have to thank for that: Brave men and women who answered the call, ready to face the fire and, if necessary, pay the ultimate price on our behalf.

That’s my message this Veterans Day, and every day, to all who wore the uniform, regardless of branch, era, rank, duties, race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation, religion, creed or ability: Thank you for your service. 

Please consider joining me and ODVA for our Oregon Statewide Veterans Day Ceremony, which will take place at 2 p.m. Nov. 10 — the day before Veterans Day — at Oregon State Capitol Park, directly across from the front entrance of the Capitol Building. 

The event will take place in person and outdoors, with social distancing and mask requirements in place. It will also be livestreamed on ODVA’s Facebook page at facebook.com/odvavet.

Kelly Fitzpatrick is the director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs and Governor Kate Brown’s policy advisor on veterans’ issues. She is a retired Army officer. Her military awards and decorations include multiple awards of the Meritorious Service Medal, the Southwest Asia Service Medal and the Army Parachutist Badge.

Attached Media Files: ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick.