Plan Early to Vote Absentee

Aug 29 2014

Published by under Events

The Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) encourages servicemembers to ensure their voting information reflects their current address and information at least 90 days before an election.

The Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act states servicemembers and their eligible family members and overseas citizens may be eligible to vote absentee. The Federal Post Card Application Standard Form 76 allows these groups to apply to register to vote, request an absentee ballot, and update contact information with their local election offices. It helps local election offices determine whether voters meet voter registration requirements, which election materials to send, and where and how to send ballots.

FVAP’s website,, offers an online assistant to walk voters through completion of the form and provides a blank, fillable PDF. Hard copies of the form are also available at embassies, consulates, and military bases around the world.


Originally printed in MOAA's September 2014 Military Officer magazine. 
Image courtesy of FVAP.

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The National Anthem Turns 200

Aug 29 2014

Published by under Events

Star_Spangled_Banner_Flag_on_display_at_the_Smithsonian's_National_Museum_of_History_and_Technology,_around_1964After Francis Scott Key witnessed the Sept. 13-14, 1814, battle at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, he wrote a poem, “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” The lyrics, set to the tune of John Stafford Smith’s “To Anacreon in Heaven,” became “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a patriotic tune officially named the U.S. national anthem March 3, 1931, under President Herbert Hoover.

Today, 200 years after the American victory and the sight of the tattered American flag flying above the fort inspired Key to write his poem, the anthem remains a symbol of freedom as it’s played before sporting events, orchestral concerts, and other public and military celebrations.

Check out the events happening at Fort McHenry in remembrance of the War of 1812 and the Star Spangled Banner, and then learn about the history behind the original flag flown at Fort McHenry using the interactive flag graphic created by the Smithsonian.

Want to know why some Americans today still fly their flags proudly every day of the year? MOAA asked people around the country this very question. Listen to their answers in this interactive media map!


The large Star Spangled Banner Flag that inspired the lyrics of the US national anthem when it flew above Fort McHenry in the 1814 Battle of Baltimore. Shown here on display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History and Technology, around 1964. Photo via Wikimedia Commons from the SIA archives.


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War of 1812 Events in Alexandria, VA

Aug 28 2014

Published by under Events

If you live in, or have ever been to, Virginia, you know how important our history is to us – we tout our heritage and landmarks everywhere! This weekend is no different, as the City of Alexandria (home of MOAA headquarters) gears up to celebrate the events of the War of 1812.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

10 a.m. Commemorative Wreath Laying at the grave of Robert Allison, Jr. Honor the veterans of the War of 1812 at this special ceremony. At the conclusion, guests will help mark War of 1812 veteran graves throughout the cemetery. Presbyterial Meeting House Cemetery and Columbarium, 600 Hamilton Lane (Wilkes Street Cemetery complex).

3-4 p.m. U.S. Navy Band Concert at Market Square, 301 King Street.

4:30 p.m. Honors Ceremony featuring the Continental Color Guard with Fife and Drum. Alexandria National Cemetery, 1450 Wilkes Street.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

12 p.m. – 5 p.m. War of 1812 Signature Event is a living history, with hands-on educational activities, and boat rides courtesy of the Alexandria Seaport Foundation! Plus Food Truck, Beer Tent, local organizational tables, vendors, and museum shop. Performances on stage including the U.S. Navy Sea Chanters. Waterfront Park, 1 Prince Street.

For more events happening in and around Alexandria, VA this weekend, visit the War of 1812 Bicentennial website.

Carronade, used in Alexandria on an American gunboat during the War of 1812. Exhibit in the Lyceum (Alexandria, Virginia, USA). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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Disabled Veterans Transition to STEM Fields

Aug 26 2014

CathedralofLearningReturning from the battlefield isn’t always easy – and trying to fill in the holes, referred to as “Swiss cheese” by one veteran, can make the transition even harder.

Now there’s a program at the University of Pittsburgh that gives veteran students living and housing stipends, and enrolls them in a program called ELeVATE (Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering). Veteran mentors help the students through rehabilitation research in STEM fields for academic credit.

Inside HigherEd describes the program this way:

But addressing other problems – such as an inability to relate to non-veteran peers, or cognitive and physical disabilities caused by injury – requires painstaking day-to-day work.

Such work is happening at the University of Pittsburgh, where a college transition program for disabled veterans interested in STEM disciplines has earned the admiration of national student veterans’ groups…

…The lab specializes in assistive technology – devices for people with disabilities — and receives funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Rory Cooper, the lab’s director, is an Army veteran who sustained a spinal cord injury while serving.

All the participants have cognitive or physical impairments – most commonly traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. The program, called ELeVATE (Experiential Learning for Veterans in Assistive Technology and Engineering) began in summer 2011, with the help of a $470,000 grant from the National Science Foundation. Five or six veterans participate each year. The fourth group of participants finished the program at the end of July…

qoltcThe program at the University of Pittsburgh has gained the backing of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the notice of the American Legion. Hopefully ELeVATE will successfully help integrate disabled veterans into STEM fields, and become a model for other universities in the future!

Cathedral of Learning (9279174346)” by Brandon SheaCathedral of Learning Uploaded by crazypaco. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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2015 Wounded Veteran Open

Aug 25 2014

Published by under Events

PinehurstIn 2015, approximately 1,600 wounded veterans will participate in the Wounded Veteran Open qualifiers across America from April to August. Entries are open to all VGA members who are prior service or active duty military personnel, both male and female, that were previously wounded in a designated US combat zone.

Of those 1,600 participants, 80 male veterans, 40 female veterans, and 12 veteran invitees (selected by committee) will qualify for the Wounded Veteran Open Championship at Pinehurst. Additionally, 10 male and 10 female wounded veterans will qualify for the Short Game Challenge Championship in Pinehurst, for a total of 152 wounded veteran qualifiers.


Entries are open to all VGA members that are prior service or active duty military personnel, both male and female, previously wounded in a designated US combat zone. VGA members participating in the 36 hole regional qualifier will not be eligible to participate in the Short Game Challenge.


Each participant will compete in two skills (Chipping & Putting). Participants will accumulate points in each skill. The top male and female participants from each regional with the highest number of accumulated points will qualify for the Short Game Challenge Championship in Pinehurst. In the case of tie in the overall score, the putting rank will serve as the tie breaker.

Registration will begin in January 2015 when the VGA launches its platform at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, Florida. Registration deadlines are dependent on the regional qualifier dates.


  • Tuesday, January 20, 2015 – VGA launches its website
  • Monday, April 2, 2015 – Regional qualifiers begin.
  • Monday, August 31, 2015 – Regional qualifiers end.
  • Friday, September 4, 2015 – Wounded Veteran Open participants announced. Short Game Challenge participants announced.
  • Sunday, November 08, 2015 – Wounded Veterans arrive to Pinehurst Resort
  • Monday, November 09, 2015 – Wounded Veteran PRO AM – Pinehurst #4
  • Tuesday, November 10, 2015 – Wounded Veteran Open – Pinehurst #4 – Day 1
  • Wednesday, November 11, 2015 – Veterans’ Day – Wounded Veteran Open – Pinehurst #2 – Day 2

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

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