Wednesday, November 11, is Veterans Day, a time to remember all who have served our nation in uniform and defended our freedoms, in times of war and peace.
First known as Armistice Day, November 11 has been celebrated since World War I. In 1938, Congress declared November 11 a national holiday "dedicated to the cause of world peace.” In 1954, it was renamed Veterans Day.
Over the years, Veterans Day observances have been held in towns small and large, with tributes to American heroes who demonstrated patriotism, love of country and willingness to sacrifice for the common good. Honoring their service is one small way to repay the debt.
This year, the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs (IDVA) encourages Iowans to honor our veterans, service members and their families by observing Veterans Day and Military Families Month in a safe and healthy way.
Additional informationFor more on events and opportunities for Iowa veterans, visit the IDVA Facebook page.
Learn more about the history of Veterans Day and how it’s celebrated.
Learn more about Military Families Month.
Free entry to national parks
Veterans and Gold Star families will no longer pay entrance fees to our country’s national parks, wildlife refuges and other federal recreation lands, following recent federal legislation.
Starting November 11, they will have free access year-round to 2,000 locations across more than 400 million acres of public lands (including locations in Iowa) managed by the Department of the Interior—a benefit already available to active-duty military.
To qualify, a veteran must have served in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, and present one of the following forms of ID when applying for an America the Beautiful pass:
- Department of Defense Identification Card
- Veteran Health Identification Card (VHIC)
- Veteran Identification Card
- Veterans designation on a state-issued driver’s license or ID card
Passes can be obtained in person at federal recreation sites that issue passes.
Learn more about passes for military, veterans and Gold Star families.
2020 successes for Iowa veterans & service members
Each year, state legislators work to support the unique needs of veterans, service members and their families. This year, I helped approve several bipartisan initiatives that are now law:
HF 2236 eliminates county recorder fees for examining or copying public records needed to complete and file claims for veterans benefits with the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
HF 2312 cuts through red tape by repealing a requirement that an individual applying for admission to the Iowa Veterans Home file an affidavit signed by two members of the commission of veteran affairs of the county in which the person resides.
HF 2382 makes confidential the name and address of those eligible for a disabled veteran tax credit or military property tax exemption, in an effort to protect them from unwanted solicitation and unscrupulous people who prey on elderly, disabled and retired servicemembers or their surviving spouses.
SF 280 allows active-duty military at the Rock Island Arsenal to qualify as Iowa residents for hunting, fishing and trapping privileges. Their spouses and dependents also qualify.
HF 717 expands the time for a veteran to appeal a hiring or demotion decision based on the veteran’s preference law and requires certain information to be provided to veterans regarding the program.
SF 388 designates the “Iowa Medal of Honor Highway” along U.S. Highway 20 between Sioux City and Dubuque. The American Legion of Iowa worked with 11 other states to establish a national Medal of Honor Highway, which stretches between Oregon and Massachusetts.