Arlington National Cemetery Holds Roundtable on
Representatives from the military community met with members of
the Arlington National Cemetery Advisory Committee in an open roundtable
discussion to review the final report on the future of the nation's
most revered cemetery.
to the report, the only way to keep Arlington open for veterans well into the
future is to limit eligibility. The report also lays out options for acquiring
new land and looks at different ways to use the land currently available.
committee was tasked with identifying and analyzing potential options. It has
yet to indicate a preferred course of action.
was the first opportunity to bring veteran service organizations, military
service organizations, congressional staff, and cemetery administrators
together in a public forum focused on the capacity dilemma. The conversation
focused on which options from the report are most feasible, tenable, and
achievable over different time spans.
MOAA has held
firm for many years against disenfranchising the currently eligible population,
a sentiment reflected by other organizations and repeatedly mentioned at the
roundtable meeting. All options for further physical expansion should be
pursued before we begin turning away older veterans who planned for interment
representatives of other associations expressed similar discontent with
changing burial eligibility standards.
agreed a widely shared survey could help inform the committee of people's
opinions on how to move forward.
applauds this effort to engage individuals with even an inkling of interest in
Arlington. It will provide an opportunity for all servicemembers, spouses,
family members, and others to make a direct contribution to the
help prepare the survey to make sure the information collected accurately
reflects opinions on how Arlington's capacity issue ought to be handled. Survey
results will be the next step in determining the best path forward, so it is
important for all interested parties to participate.
carried out its own survey this past fall, and the results were quite
informative. Arlington isn't going to last forever, and our survey participants
expressed a degree of acceptance and understanding that when the grounds are
full, they're full.
There's no singular
reason people want Arlington to be their final resting place. Some want to be
part of the rich history of the location, to continue a sense of military
connection, or want the ceremony of interment.
However, the vast
majority of respondents said eligibility changes should not be considered as a
first option - particularly if retirees are excluded.
Engaging the veteran and military
communities on this issue is the right thing to do, and MOAA was pleased with
the opportunity to speak openly and publicly about the effects of potential
changes. With the report complete, it is encouraging that representatives of
the veteran community are being included in discussions leading up to a formal
Advice for Grandparents Planning a
Pam Wear of Chico,
Calif., always has loved to travel. As a former Army brat, she has great
memories of her journeys all over the world. “But when we got grandchildren, we
really hit the road,” she said.
Wear is one of a growing
number of seniors who are choosing to vacation with their extended family to
places near and far. Moo Bishop of Thomson Family Adventures says
multigenerational, or intergenerational, travel has been on the upswing for
many years and shows no sign of slowing down. The company offers different
types of vacations suitable for every family, like traveling with older
children or the multi-sports adventure for athletic families. Destinations are
assigned a difficulty rating to help the family gauge what’s suitable — the
Kilimanjaro climb rates a high five!
There are many reasons
for this emerging travel trend. The baby boomer generation is not shying away
from travel in retirement and often has the funds to pick up the tab for the
entire trip. Some desire to share a piece of family history, perhaps even
dining at the same Parisian restaurant where Grandpa asked Grandma for her hand
in marriage. Others seek new adventures and prefer destinations the family’s
“If the family likes to
be together, why not go someplace new?” says Bishop. “Everyone’s on equal
terms, learning something new together and creating totally new conversations
and memories. “
No matter the
destination, it’s ultimately about sharing experiences with the family. It’s
hard to find a place on the top of everyone’s list, so Bishop suggests if the
grandparents are paying, they get to choose. Or if the trip is honoring Uncle
Ted’s 40th birthday, then he gets to choose. PANKS (professional aunts with no
kids) often treat their nieces or nephews to trips and let them decide “the
where.” It’s important to ensure that whatever destination is selected
has activities everyone can enjoy.
Here are some tips for
the oldest generation to help make the most of your intergenerational trip.
go it alone. Wear took care of
all the logistics for her first trip to London with the grandkids. Although she
called the trip a “super success,” she now turns to Thomson Family Adventures
to coordinate all her travel plans, which allows her to focus on the joys of
the trip and not worry about reservations and itineraries.
the parents. One-on-one time with the
grandkids is rare, so why not leave the sandwich generation at home? This new
travel niche of grandparents traveling solely with their grandchildren is
growing by leaps and bounds. Grandparents often treat a grandchild to a trip as
a rite of passage of sorts, such as when each grandchild turns a certain age or
graduates high school.
the boss? A challenge with
many families is that there often are numerous sets of parents who think they
know what’s best, not to mention older children who want to have their say as
well. Guided tours or all-inclusive trips can take the hassle out of making
endless decisions day in and day out about where to go and what to do.
“Grammy’s not in charge — the guide is — so we can all relax and enjoy,” says
a chance — or not. Some activities
might be a tad bit too adventurous for the oldest and youngest members. Wear’s
family trip to Thailand included zip-lining on the longest, highest line in the
world. Although Wear decided to take the plunge by herself (ensuring wonderful
stories for years to come), the activity was structured so that all age groups
could ride the tram up to the top of the zip line and share the experience of
being in the treetops together. Those who took a pass on the zip line took the
tram back down while the others zipped their way to the bottom.
Build up the
the whole family to research the trip beforehand gets everyone exciting about
going and manages expectations. Wear suggests sending a list of age-appropriate
books (like Jane Goodall’s children’s books) to the
grandkids. She also sends out an email with all the details of the trip about a
month before the departure date, so there are no surprises.
4 Vietnam POWs Share Lessons Learned
More than 750 American servicemembers — the majority of them
officers — were taken prisoner during the Vietnam War. Here are the stories of
four of those servicemembers and how they made the most of their lives in the
years that followed.
Air Force 1st Lt. Leon “Lee”
captured when his F-4 Phantom was shot down during an armed reconnaissance
mission over North Vietnam Nov. 7, 1967. During the two-week trek to Hanoi, he
almost was killed by angry locals and was strafed and bombed by American
himself at Hoa Lò Prison (more commonly known as the “Hanoi Hilton”), where he
stayed for nine months before being transferred to Camp Faith in Son Tay, North
Vietnam. Two years later, he returned to Hoa Lò Prison and was released March
14, 1973. Ellis worked as a flight instructor, then as a flight commander at
Moody AFB, Ga. Because of his exemplary performance as a POW, he received an
early promotion to major.
years of service, Ellis retired from the Air Force to be closer to his parents
and went into business for himself. He wrote the book Leading With Honor: Leadership Lessons From the Hanoi
Hilton, and today he works as a leadership consultant, trainer,
experience as a POW settled me down and matured me,” Ellis says. “I became more
serious about the world and more committed to doing the right thing. That has
served me well over the years. To be the person you want to be, you have to
have courage. Lean into the pain of your doubts and fears to do what you know
is right, to do your duty, and you’ll always come out
Army Col. Harold “Hal” Kushner
a flight surgeon with the 1st Cavalry Division when the helicopter in which he
was riding crashed into a mountain near Duc Pho, South Vietnam, Nov. 30, 1967.
Kushner survived with several broken bones, severe burns, and bullet wounds
received when M-60 rounds popped off as the helicopter burned. The rest of the
captured by the Viet Cong a few days after the crash and marched for weeks to a
small prison camp in the mountains, where 10 of his fellow prisoners eventually
died. From there, Kushner and 11 other prisoners were sent to a camp in Hanoi
called the Plantation. Later, Kushner was transferred to Hoa Lò Prison, where
he experienced threats and abuse.
released March 16, 1973, retired from the Army in 1985, and went on to
establish a successful ophthalmology practice. “I feel very fortunate that I
came through this crisis with some physical scars but no mental scars,” he
says. “I’m not proud I was captured, but I am very proud of the way I have
behaved since I came back. I just went back to work and tried to set a good
example for my employees and family. I haven’t made my captivity a big deal; it
was just an unfortunate bump in the road of my life.”
Navy Capt. Giles Norrington
was on his 22nd combat reconnaissance mission when his RA-5C Vigilante was hit
by antiaircraft artillery May 5, 1968. He and his navigator, Dick Tangeman,
ejected and were captured within a few minutes of each other. Following three
days at a small prison camp near Vinh, North Vietnam, Norrington was
transferred to Hanoi, where he experienced several weeks of interrogation and
brutality eased a bit with the death of Ho Chi Minh in September 1969, and life
in the prison became “a live-and-let-live situation,” Norrington says, though
his captors continued to pressure him to engage in anti-American propaganda,
which he resisted.
was released March 14, 1973. He served two tours in the Pentagon and a couple
of commands, including the naval base at Diego Garcia, and retired from the
Navy in 1988. “What I experienced as a POW prepared me for life afterward,”
Norrington says. “There was no hardship that could come my way that was worse.”
lessons Norrington learned during his time as a POW was he and his comrades
could be remarkably resilient. “There were those who were captured who had not
received [POW] training, and yet they still distinguished themselves,” he says.
Air Force Col. Robert Certain
B-52 bomber was hit by a surface-to-air missile during a raid over North
Vietnam Dec. 18, 1972. He quickly was captured and transported first to Hoa Lò
Prison and then to the Plantation, where he was presented to the International
Press Corps. “I was on the front page of the Washington Post the
next day,” Certain reports. From there, he was returned to Hoa Lò Prison.
A man of
deep faith, Certain actively ministered to others in the prison camp. He
returned home March 29, 1973, and followed his dream of becoming an Episcopal
priest. Certain left active duty in 1977 and served as a chaplain in the Air
Force Reserve at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., until
retiring from the Air Force in 1999. Certain also was associate for pastoral
care at St. Barnabas on the Desert Episcopal Church in Scottsdale, Ariz., and
rector at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, Calif.
“I came out
of the POW experience knowing I could face adversity and uncertainty and do
well,” Certain says. “It also gave me greater insight that was particularly
helpful as a clergyman: how people deal with adversity, how they deal with
being imprisoned — with life not being in their control — and how people can
work with that to survive and prosper.”