By Cindy C. Butler, Public Affairs Director, VA San Diego Healthcare System
As Independence Day approaches, we think about the iconic saying, “Freedom Isn’t Free.” As we commemorate the holiday, let’s think about the brave men and women who are currently serving and those who have served our nation around the world to protect the American way of life. They are often away from their families for long periods of time while deployed to distant lands, which creates immense hardships for service members and their families. Many service members in combat zones are at incredible risk and often come back from service with both physical and psychological wounds that may impact them for the rest of their lives. Yet, others pay the ultimate sacrifice and never came home.
These sacrifices are what is meant by the saying, “Freedom Isn’t Free.” Each of them “at one point in their life wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’ for an amount up to and including their life.” But, when asked, these American heroes will say they are proud to have served and that they would gladly do it again. We owe these service members, veterans and their families a priceless debt – our very way of life, our freedom, and we should never take for granted the sacrifices they’ve made for every American. This Fourth of July, take a moment to honor all service members and veterans for their contributions to our freedom and American way of life. They paid the price for our freedom.
At the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we honor our nation’s veterans and their families by working to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.” The VA in San Diego is proud to serve one of the largest concentrations of veterans in the country offering home loan guaranty benefits, GI Bill benefits, and cemetery burial benefits. VA San Diego Healthcare System provides comprehensive inpatient and outpatient healthcare at the medical center in La Jolla and six clinics throughout San Diego and Imperial counties. Our providers have specialized training in care for combat related health issues including prosthetics, post-traumatic stress disorder, and traumatic brain injury. We encourage all veterans to contact the local VA for any health care needs they may have.
San Diego is very committed to serving the military and veterans and has extensive resources for service members and their families. The SAY San Diego Military Family Resource Center serves active duty, transitioning, and veteran military personnel and their families and is located in Murphy Canyon. For a full list of resources, also see www.211sandiego.org.