November 11 marks the observance of Veterans Day, a day in which we honor the courageous women and men who have served in the United States Military. World War I (WWI) ended with the Treaty of Versailles being signed on June 28, 1919. However, allies and Germany put into effect an armistice on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, was largely considered the end of “the war to end all wars” and dubbed Armistice Day or day of peace.
On November 8, the NIFA Veterans Emphasis Group hosted their annual Veterans Day program. NIFA Director Dr. Manjit Misra and Biological Science Specialist Dr. Crystal Kyle welcomed everyone as NIFA celebrated those who served our country in the military and now continue to serve through working for NIFA and the USDA.
To help support our military and veterans, NIFA sponsors grants specifically for military veterans and their families. Its management of these programs is central to the work assisting our military, veterans and their families. These grants help ensure military personnel are receiving assistance while they serve their military time through Department of Defense (DoD).
Veteran programing such as Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans (AgVets) is designed to provide military veterans and their families hands on agriculture training, plus classroom education to create pathways for military veterans interested in agriculture careers. The Yellow Ribbon, a component of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, assists veterans in going back to school to re-tool, launch a new career, and/or continue their service to society in new ways.
NIFA’s Division of Youth and 4-H partners with the DoD Office of Military Community and Family Policy, the Military-Civilian Transition Office and the Army, Navy and Air Force to support military-connected children in accessing consistent, supportive and multifaceted programs and services that foster positive youth development, both on and off military installations.
AgrAbility is a consumer-driven, NIFA-funded program with a special focus on military veterans. It provides vital education, assistance and support to farmers and ranchers with disabilities. After nine years of active duty in the Army, including two tours in Iraq, James Jeffers came to realize that he needed a career change. Recurring health issues, including the aftermath of traumatic brain injuries, were taking their toll, so he opted for medical retirement. Shortly afterward, in an effort to “fix” his system, he began eating healthier and learning about organics. Motivated by fellow veteran Steve Smith, James tilled up his back yard and began gardening. “It was everything I needed. It was physical therapy. It was mental therapy. I was learning something new every day.” Hear more about James’ story here.
As you celebrate Veterans Day, find a moment to reflect on the meaning of this day for you and for our country. Across the USDA, Federal Government, and the United States, there are many programs and ways to get involved and support Veterans on Veterans Day. Look in your local area for parades, group activities, and programs. Many veterans and supporters like to volunteer by laying American Flags at graves of veterans.