THE BLOG
06/24/2009 05:12 am ET Updated 5 days ago

Memorial Day, 2009 -- Sacrifice Repaid

The opposite of selfishness is not generosity, it's sacrifice.

Selfishness --> Generosity --> Sacrifice

Last Memorial Day, television actor and Marine Hugh O'Brien spoke to the assembled audience at the Los Angeles National Cemetery and told us that we were there to honor the all who gave some and the some who gave all so the rest of us could be free.

I didn't serve in Vietnam because I pulled 363 in the draft lottery. I have spent the last forty years living a good life. My high school classmates, Arthur Stroyman and Paul Dunne, have spent the last forty years on the wall of the ,Vietnam Veterans Memorial,. My children age 27, 24 and 19 have also had a blessed life going to nice colleges and now have jobs. During the same time my good friend Jane Bright's son Evan Ashcraft was killed in Iraq. The pain and anger threatened to consume Jane until she focused on what Evan kept writing to her in his letters: "When I come home from Iraq, I just want to help people. Evan" To fulfill his dream Jane and her husband Jim established the Evan Ashcraft Foundation.

Every day I drive by the intersection of Sepulveda and Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. And each time I usually see a veteran of an older war. They are now beginning to be replaced by veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq, by people the age of my children. On a good day, I'll roll down my window and give one a dollar. But on most days I'll be on my Blackberry on a call of questionable import and just wave the veteran on refusing to even make eye contact.

I can no longer sit back and do nothing. (And after reading Jayne Lyn Stahl's disturbing blog, An Insult to Service I hope you will no longer be able to do nothing either).

I don't think honoring those who gave so much so we can be free -- the soldiers, veterants, police, firefighters and their families -- is enough; we need to repay them for their sacrifice.

I dedicated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder for Dummies to those who sacrificed so much to create peace on Earth so they might regain peace of mind. In celebration of Memorial Day I thought it was timely to spread the word about the Aids and Attendance Program to qualified Vets who could benefit from assistance with their care needs.

The Veterans' Administration offers a Special Pension with Aid and Attendance (A&A) benefit that is largely unknown. This Special Pension (part of the VA Improved Pension program) allows for Veterans and surviving spouses who require the regular attendance of another person to assist in eating, bathing, dressing, undressing or taking care of the needs of nature to receive additional monetary benefits. It also includes individuals who are blind or a patient in a nursing home because of mental or physical incapacity. Assisted care in an assisted living facility also qualifies.

This most important benefit is overlooked by many families with Veterans or surviving spouses who need additional monies to help care for ailing parents or loved ones. This is a "pension benefit" and is not dependent upon service-related injuries for compensation. Most Veterans who are in need of assistance qualify for this pension. Aid and Attendance can help pay for care in the home, nursing home or assisted living facility. A Veteran is eligible for up to $1,632 per month, while a surviving spouse is eligible for up to $1,055 per month. A couple is eligible for up to $1,949 per month.

Find out more at: VeteranAid.org PS: Please forward this information to someone who could use it!

ALSO:
* This Memorial Day, Honor the Fallen
* Bitterness as Mental Illness
* PTSD"s Toll on our soldiers
* At Camp Pendleton, Every day is Memorial Day
* PTSD from the Inside Out
* Soldier-on-Soldier: Why we kill our own
* PTSD - "Hello in There"