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Happy Veterans Day! Veterans' Benefits

On November 11th, there are services and ceremonies planned across the nation to honor the veterans who have served our country via military service.

According to 2012 data from the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs,(External Link) there are more than 918,000 veterans living in New York State. In 2010 data more than 612,000 New York State veterans were age 55 and older. Many of these individuals need access to information about health benefits, employment opportunities, and other benefits.

Visiting the web site of the New York State Division of Veteran's Affairs(External Link) is a great starting point. Veterans and their caregivers will find the web site easy to use and will find a wealth of information.

In addition to important benefits information that most veterans are familiar with, a quick visit to the web site reveals that there are many New York State-specific benefits for veterans that may not immediately come to mind. For example, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation offers discounted fishing and hunting licenses for veterans. The New York State Department of Transportation also offers the Disabled Veterans E-Z Pass Non-Revenue Program(External Link) and a vehicle registration exemption for qualifying vets.

New York State also operates the MyBenefits web site,(External Link) which is a quick-and-easy way to find out what benefits all New Yorkers might qualify for - veteran or not.

"We are all in debt for the sacrifices that so many Americans have made in the past, continue to make today and will so in the future to protect our freedom," said Greg Olsen, Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging. "It is our duty and responsibility as New Yorkers and as public servants to provide help and assistance whenever we can to support our veterans of all ages and to thank them for their service."

Did You Know? The History of Veterans Day
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs, World War I - known at the time as "The Great War" - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of "the war to end all wars."

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.

The Veterans Day Parade has been organized in New York since 1929. Over 25,000 people participate in the Veterans Day Parade in New York City each year, making it the largest in the nation.

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11 at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans' organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

For a list of ceremonies held across the nation,(External Link) please visit the U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs web site.