VA Center for Development and Civic Engagement
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, the more than 9 million Veterans of the U.S. armed services who are cared for 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.
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.
In memory of Ann Landers and a special thanks to Annie’s Mailbox
For the 33rd consecutive year, the nationally syndicated column started by Ann Landers, now called “Ask Annie,” has devoted a column to the National Salute, asking readers to send Valentine cards and letters to hospitalized Veterans at VA medical facilities. More than a million cards and letters are sent to VA patients each year during National Salute. Several VA medical facilities will host “Valentines for Veterans” concerts featuring acclaimed musicians.
The letter to the Annie’s Mailbox column, along with Annie’s reply, will be published in the week leading up to Valentine's Day. The column appears in more than 500 newspapers and is seen by more than 50 million readers.