As we mark a second Memorial Day in what we hope are the waning days of the coronavirus pandemic, let us all take the time to offer a measure of respect to the men and women who sacrificed their lives to defend the freedoms we enjoy in the United States of America.
Our union takes seriously the duty to show appreciation to members of the military, both living and no longer with us. We must remember all they have done for our country and, by extension, all of us in times of conflict and of tranquility. Their fights have preserved the freedoms established at our country’s founding and have enhanced the strength of our nation. The Memorial Day holiday serves as a great reminder to show our gratitude and respect.
At a time where we still battle a virulent enemy, please take some time to pause in remembrance of the debt we owe to our servicemen and -women in the United States Armed Forces who fought and sacrificed in defense of the freedoms of our country that are too easily taken for granted.
Veterans Day marks the end of World War I — that fierce global conflict that cost millions of lives – and while the memory of that conflict fades further into history, the need for the heroism and sacrifice on the part of our military personnel endures more than a century later.
Our military members uplift and shield us, and our veterans are a source of patriotism and pride for what they have done and what they contribute to our organization. They deserve our thanks and recognition as SMART-TD members and as American heroes.
I myself am an U.S. Army veteran who served for three years during the Gulf War era. One of the key goals of my administration is to give those members who are military veterans the recognition that they deserve for answering the high call of serving our country and to defend the freedoms that we enjoy.
To that end, we continue to urge those who served to let us know the details of their military careers via the SMART-TD Member Info Update form on our website. We are working to highlight our continuing work to recognize and amplify the importance of veterans to our union in our organizing efforts. We also are moving quickly with special plans to pay tribute and highlight members’ military service and continue to update our Veteran Services page with resources that could help our American heroes.
Each and every veteran deserves to feel a sense of appreciation today on this Veterans Day.
On behalf of SMART-Transportation Division, to all U.S. military veterans, we thank you once again for your service.
President — Transportation Division
U.S. Army, 1988-1991
Shortly before I joined the union in the mid 1990s, I served with the U.S. Army for three years in service to our country. I know I am not alone in this distinction as many of our union brothers and sisters in the SMART Transportation Division served in the military, and some continue to bravely serve.
Sharing that bond with the veterans in our union, and long before I was elected president of our union, I noticed that some recognition of our veterans’ service was long overdue. SMART-TD has not accumulated any definitive records about our members who have served in the military — whether they served, what branch they served, when they served. This is an oversight we are looking to correct by asking our members to update their veteran’s status by using a new Member Info Update form on the union website.
By updating your information, as a veteran, you will be eligible for future exclusive programs and information focused on veterans. The first step of this process was taken April 20 of this year with the addition of a Veteran Services page to the TD website. There will be more steps to come, but we first need to record who our veterans are in order to get the information out there and to better target our communications.
This project is close to my heart and a long time coming. I hope you will voluntarily participate by updating your information. Your union wants to recognize the sacrifices of all of our veterans and to better serve all those who served our country.
Thank you for your time. Thank you for your service. And please stay safe!
Jeremy R. Ferguson President – Transportation Division U.S. Army: 1988-1991
As we pause to recall the sacrifices that those who have served and their families have made to solidify and defend the freedoms that we enjoy in the United States, SMART-TD wanted to provide this list of services available to military veterans today and throughout the year.
Those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces were placed in harm’s way in a commitment to a higher calling — that of our country. I am proud not only to serve the membership of SMART – Transportation Division who are among the ranks of U.S. military veterans as SMART-TD president but I am proud to stand with them as an Army veteran myself, having served for three years.
The bonds formed in service of any kind to others are among the strongest of all. Collectively, working toward a common goal, those in our armed forces exemplify the epitome of strength, focus and sacrifice, shielding the United States and preserving our American way of life through the country’s 243 years of existence.
The bond of military service has lifted the country to triumph in times of conflict, reshaped the course of world history and has shielded the constitutionally protected freedoms we all enjoy. Each and every veteran has had a role in the preservation of our country. Each and every veteran deserves to feel a sense of appreciation on this Veterans Day.
On behalf of SMART-Transportation Division, to all U.S. military veterans, we thank you once again for your service.
President — Transportation Division
U.S. Army, 1988-1991
This online resource is designed to connect veterans, family members and friends and other supporters with information, resources and solutions to issues affecting the lives of veterans.
This nonprofit’s focus is to combat the veteran suicide rate through veteran treatment programs. It also organizes events and builds memorials while engaging people with an an ambassador volunteer program to create social impact and awareness for these issues.
Wounded Warrior Project
The program serves alumni — those men and women who have experienced a physical or mental injury while in service to the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. All services offered by the Wounded Warrior Project are free.
Hope for the Warriors
Hope for the Warriors provides comprehensive support programs for service members, veterans, and military families that are focused on transition, health and wellness, peer engagement, and connections to community resources.
This organization provides care for those who otherwise might not receive it by harnessing the skill, expertise and generosity of volunteer mental health professionals.
Union Veterans Council
Issues surrounding veterans and union employees are not independent of each other, this AFL-CIO affiliated organization says. It brings working-class veterans together to speak out on the issues such as the need for good jobs and a strong, fully funded and staffed VA.
Vets 4 Warriors
A 24/7 confidential peer support network — call 855-838-8255 — for veteran and military communities to provide peer support through confidential phone, chat, text, and email conversations to serve anyone who has ever worn the uniform, as well as the family members and the caregivers who love and support them.
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…”
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
“Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
“Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
“Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.”
An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.” Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting in its place the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” which stated: “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans’ Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible.”
In 1958, the White House advised VA’s General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee’s chairman.
The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.
The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Oct. 21 announced it has awarded $1 million in grants to nine technical and community colleges across the country to help train returning military veterans for jobs as commercial bus and truck drivers. The funding is provided through FMCSA’s Commercial Motor Vehicle – Operator Safety Training (CMV-OST) grant program.
“Those that we entrust to protect and serve our nation deserve opportunities that utilize the skills and training they received on the job on military bases overseas and at home,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We can think of none more appropriate to safeguard our highways as commercial vehicle drivers than the thousands of veterans who have already proven they can safely handle large vehicles under extremely stressful circumstances.”
“These unique grants are designed to help recruit, train and place veterans and their spouses in good jobs that are in high demand and in an industry that is vitally important in keeping our national economy moving forward,” said FMCSA Acting Administrator Scott Darling. “Graduates of these training programs are continuing to serve our nation by ensuring that the goods and products we depend on are delivered professionally, efficiently and, most importantly, safely.”
FMCSA awards CMV-OST grants to organizations that provide truck driving training, including accredited public or private colleges, universities, vocational-technical schools, post-secondary educational institutions, truck driver training schools, associations, and state and local governments, including federally-recognized Native American tribal governments. The funds are used to recruit, train, and provide students job placement assistance after graduation.
The 2014 FMCSA grants announced today will provide training for nearly 400 new students. The awards were made to the following organizations:
Florida – South Florida State College, Avon Park, Fla., $58,003
Minnesota – Century College in White Bear Lake, Minn., $91,080
Missouri – Crowder College, Neosho, Mo., $72,160
Nebraska – Metropolitan Community College, Omaha, Ne., $47,614
Pennsylvania – Northampton County Area Community College, Bethlehem, Pa., $134,400
Pennsylvania – The Sage Corporation, Camp Hill, Pa., $249,968
Texas – Lone Star College-North Harris, Houston, Texas, $73,704
Virginia – Tidewater Community College, Norfolk, Va., $107,271
The Commercial Motor Vehicle – Operator Safety Training Grant Program was established by Congress in 2005 through the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act – A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), to expand the number of commercial driver’s license (CDL) holders possessing enhanced operator safety training to help reduce the severity and number of crashes on U.S. roads involving large trucks and buses.
In July 2014, FMCSA announced that the Military Skills Test Waiver Program had been expanded to include all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Under this program, state licensing agencies have authority to waive the skills test portion of the CDL application for active duty or recently separated veterans who possess at least two years of safe driving experience operating a military truck or bus. Waiving the skills test expedites the civilian commercial drivers licensing application process and reduces expenses for qualified individuals and operating costs to state licensing agencies.
FMCSA also announced this summer that, commencing with Virginia residents, returning military service personnel who possess a state-issued Skill Performance Evaluation (SPE) certificate due to a limb impairment will automatically be recognized as equivalent to an FMCSA-issued SPE certificate and allowed to obtain an interstate commercial driver’s license (CDL). FMCSA encourages other state licensing agencies to establish comparable equivalency SPE programs.