As Veterans Day approaches on Nov. 11, no doubt many Texans know well the sacrifices made in service of our nation.
The state had about 164,000 active-duty and reserve military personnel as of 2017, second only to California. And roughly 1.6 million veterans lived in Texas last year, according to estimates by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Texas’s estimated veteran population makes up roughly 8 percent of the state’s adult population, according to Veterans Affairs, including about 628,000 veterans who are 65 and older.
Veterans Day’s original name, Armistice Day, referred to the signing of an armistice on Nov. 11, 1918, that halted combat between the Allies and Germany during World War I. Federal lawmakers changed the observance’s name to Veterans Day in 1954.
The holiday reminds us all — including here at AARP — of our responsibility to give back to veterans. AARP is co-sponsoring an event in San Antonio on Nov. 17 where veterans can get cold weather apparel and space heaters. Veterans can also learn more about scams that specifically focus on those who served in the military.
The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at event co-sponsor VetStrong, a local nonprofit located at 1735 Babcock Road. Those who'd like to donate gear can drop it off during the week at the office of San Antonio Councilwoman Ana Sandoval, who is hosting the event.
Veterans and their families can find information on resources on an AARP web portal dedicated to them. For instance, one post details Veteran Affairs’ Aid and Attendance program, though which veterans and survivors can get help to pay for a caregiver. Another post goes over how veterans and families can seek help in applying for benefits.
The site also features a Q&A with Ben Patton, filmmaker and grandson of Gen. George Patton Jr. He talks about his famous grandfather as well as his efforts to use film to help veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder.
Here in Texas, veterans are family, friends and neighbors. We owe it to them to pay them back for all they’ve done for us.