Marching with the Troops on Veterans Day

More than two million men and women have served or continue to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. Looking for a simple way to support them today?

The word veteran often conjures images of grizzled men in faded uniforms. Men—always men—of the Greatest Generation come to mind, not a 20-year-old fresh off two tours of duty in Iraq. But for the 2.2 million Americans who have—and continue—to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, this Veterans Day—the first since we began the withdrawal—holds special significance. We asked Todd Bowers, Deputy Executive Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, for his thoughts on the meaning of Veterans Day for those involved in modern conflict, and to find out how we can show the troops we've got their back.

GOOD: How is Veterans Day different for a veteran of the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan versus veterans from past U.S.-involved conflicts?

TODD BOWERS: The most important difference is the fact that a lot of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are deployed in war zones right now. These wars are still going on. On Veterans Day last year, I was serving in Afghanistan and our base took enemy fire on 11/11. There were definitely no parades, no recognition. The idea of Veterans Day was a million miles away for us.

A lot of new veterans who have served have never marched in a Veterans Day parade before or even identified themselves as a vet. They think of veterans like they think of their grandfathers. It doesn't help that the word veteran comes from the Latin word veteranus meaning old. We're here to show them they've got a community that knows exactly what they've been through.

G: What actions do you strive to inspire in civilians by raising awareness around Veteran's Day?

TB: 11/11 is an important day for vets and civilians alike to honor those who have served and sacrificed. No matter what your position is on the wars or where you fall on the political spectrum, everyone can play a role in the veterans' movement. We all have a moral obligation to unite in support of our nation's troops and veterans.

G: What can civilians do on Veterans Day—and beyond—to truly honor vets?

TB: Everyone can show our troops and veterans we've got their back this Veteran's Day- and you can do it in one click. This year we've developed a groundbreaking new Facebook application that allows Americans across the country to march with Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America online simply by posting to their Facebook page on Veterans Day. Click here to join the march and help raise awareness around veterans issues so all 2.2 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan know we've got their backs.

G: What are some of the biggest challenges facing veterans today?

TB: On the home front, new veterans and their families are facing an overwhelming number of challenges. One of the biggest struggles for thousands of veterans today is just finding a job and making that transition back into the civilian workforce.

Last week, veteran unemployment hit 10.6 percent, up from just 6.1 percent in 2007. If finding a job in this recession isn't challenging enough, 20 percent of new veterans today are also screening positive for invisible wounds like PTSD or depression.

At IAVA, we're fighting hard to ensure these veterans have all the tools they need for the transition home, from getting access to veterans health care in their area, to receiving their GI Bill tuition on time.

Unfortunately, this past year, Congress failed to make veterans' issues a top priority. Our elected officials were more focused on reelection and partisan bickering. Americans can do their part by calling their Senators and Representatives to push for employment legislation, cutting the claims backlog at the VA, and upgrading the new GI Bill so all veterans can take advantage of a college education and find employment.

G: What kinds of Veterans Day events is IAVA involved with this year?

TB: Hundreds of IAVA Member Veterans and supporters will be marching in the New York City Veterans Day Parade. We're also taking part in parades and runs across the country in Arizona, Texas, Washington State, Washington, D.C., and two in California.

Several IAVA Member Veterans will also be part of the pre-game flag ceremony at the Baltimore Ravens versus Atlanta Falcons game on Veterans Day. Across the country, Americans can come out to support them along the parade routes or by signing up to march with IAVA online.

via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?


Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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