Opinion: After The Parade Passes By

Kerstin Lynam

CEO, Veterans Medical Research Foundation

Today the country will honor the service of the nation’s military veterans. Originally set as Armistice Day, a legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, Veterans Day honors American veterans of all wars, including those just returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. Veterans’ organizations will mark the occasion with a variety of ceremonies.

The holiday and festivities provide a splendid opportunity to celebrate our nation’s veterans, but one day of community-based activities can’t begin to adequately honor and remember the sacrifices U.S. veterans have made — sacrifices that often cause a ripple of health effects many years after their service has concluded. Our veterans deserve our thanks — and they also deserve access to the finest, research-based health care in the nation. Though the need for cutting-edge medical research focused on veterans’ medical issues is increasing, federal funding is flat and has not kept pace with the needs of both an aging veteran population and an influx of younger veterans with complicated problems like traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorders and other issues that are a direct consequence of their heroic service protecting the U.S. and for what we stand.

The La Jolla-based Veterans Medical Research Foundation is a local, private, nonprofit research foundation that provides administrative and fundraising support for veterans’ medical research. It is the only research entity in the region dedicated to veterans. Though it supports the groundbreaking research being conducted by the leading physicians and scientists in the VA San Diego Healthcare System, the foundation does not receive Department of Veterans Affairs funding, and is for the first time in its history appealing to the private sector and the community for help.

This Veterans Day, the organization is asking San Diegans to honor service with science by making a donation to veterans medical research — a gesture to thank our veterans with a gift that will keep on giving, long after the parade passes by.

For more information about Veterans Medical Research Foundation, please visit

www.vmrf.org

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