I can remember, as a kid, when my father would pack up for his six month deployments. A petty officer in the U.S. Navy, he was recruited in his hometown of Lipa City, Bulacan, Philippines in the mid-1960s. He came to America as a young man and was first stationed in San Diego, CA. He was eventually moved to New Haven, CT, where he met my mother. They got married, had three children, and continued to move from naval base to naval base in Virginia, Guam, Pensacola, Charleston, Iceland, and finally Maryland—all throughout my childhood.
It was my father’s service to our nation that has stayed with me throughout my life, as a student leader, as a community activist, and now as a labor organizer. In the 1990s, I became active with the grassroots campaign to extend benefits to Filipino veterans of World War II. As a junior Senator and later as a Presidential candidate, Barack Obama lent his support to legislation that would provide this long overdue compensation. And with the hard work of our champions in Congress, President Obama signed this language into law as a provision in the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009.
As Commander in Chief, President Obama’s administration has expanded benefits and programs to all veterans from World War II to Operation New Dawn. He called for historic increases in funding for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and for bolstering resources for education and retraining of our returning troops.Nowadays, I have a family of my own and as a father with two sons, I find it difficult to leave my kids even for extended travel assignments. I often think back to my dad, and about my friends who are serving in the current conflicts, and cannot imagine being separated from my boys for more than half a year or up to fifteen months. It eases my mind to know that the children of these servicemembers are provided with extra support and services during such difficult times.
It is for this reason that I am voting for President Obama, for all that he has done for our servicemembers, veterans, and military families – families just like mine. Join me and sign up for Veterans and Military Families for Obama today.
Marlan M. is a labor educator in Springfield, VA.