National Salute to Veteran Patients
The purpose of the National Salute to Veteran Patients Program is to:
pay tribute and express appreciation to Veterans;
increase community awareness of the role of the VA medical center;
encourage citizens to visit hospitalized Veterans and to become involved as volunteers.
The week of February 14 each year is your opportunity to say thank you to a special group of men and women, more than 98,000 Veterans of the U.S. armed services who are cared for every day in Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, outpatient clinics, domiciliaries, and nursing homes.
During the National Salute, VA invites individuals, Veterans groups, military personnel, civic organizations, businesses, schools, local media, celebrities and sports stars to participate in a variety of activities at the VA medical centers. The activities and events include special ward visits and valentine distributions; photo opportunities; school essay contests; special recreation activities and Veteran recognition programs.
The week also provides an opportunity for the community to become acquainted with the volunteer opportunities within the medical center.
Also during National Salute week, selected cities host concerts that are free to Veterans and their families. The concert schedule is usually available around the first of January. Please check back then for a list of the cities that will be hosting the events. Many thanks to the organizational donors that make these concerts a success!
Contact your nearest VA Medical Center and ask for Voluntary Service to discover the wonderful things you, your group or organization can do to salute America’s Heroes. Locate the facility nearest you.
Dominic Chianese, Chairperson for the 2015 National Salute to Veteran Patients
Born on February 24, 1931, in the Bronx, New York, Dominic Chianese is a versatile performer with a career spanning more than five decades, Chianese got his start on the stage. He appeared off-Broadway in the American Savoyards in 1952, which led to national tours of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado and Patience.
Now a veteran stage performer, Chianese has performed in musicals and dramatic productions at the Yale Repertory Theatre, Center Stage, Long Wharf Theatre and the New York Shakespeare Festival, among several other venues.
Film and Television
Chianese made his film debut in 1972 in Fuzz. Shortly after, he appeared in one of the classic gangster movies of all-time, The Godfather, Part II (1974) which starred Al Pacino. Around this time, Chianese appeared in several of director Sidney Lumet’s films, including the explosive drama Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
For the next two decades, Chianese continued to carve out a substantial career as a character actor in film, on the stage and on television. He showed his range as an actor by appearing on a diverse mix of TV shows, from the crime drama Law & Order to the comedy Hope & Faith. He often played the role of the gangster as he did in the HBO biographical film Gotti (1996). It would be Chianese’s portrayal of another mob figure on another HBO program, however, that would make him a star and a staple of popular culture.
‘The Sopranos’ and Other Roles
The HBO television series, The Sopranos, began airing in 1999, with Chianese on board as Corrado "Uncle Junior" Soprano. Short-tempered with often frustrated ambitions, his character often experienced conflict with his nephew Tony Soprano (played by James Gandolfini) over the family business. Chianese brought this aging mobster character to life, presenting him as a complex human being rather than a stereotypical figure. His hard work paid off: He received numerous accolades for his performance on The Sopranos, including two Emmy Award nominations for outstanding supporting actor in a drama series, in 2000 and 2001.
In addition to his work on The Sopranos, Chianese has pursued a career in music, releasing two albums: 2001’s Hits, which features a few original compositions by Chianese, and 2003’s Ungrateful Heart, a collection of Italian songs. Chianese often gives performances in the New York City area.