WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 19, 2006) - Leaders of major veterans organizations joined Veterans Affairs Secretary R. James Nicholson here yesterday in launching an effort to "kindle a new spark of patriotism" by asking men and women who have served in the military to wear their medals on Veterans Day.

"We are announcing a 'Veterans Pride Initiative' to remind Americans of the pride and honor in the hearts of those who have served," Nicholson said at a news conference at VA headquarters. "We expect Americans will see our decorated heroes unite in spirit at ceremonies, in parades and elsewhere as a compelling symbol of courage and sacrifice on Veterans Day, the day we set aside to thank those who served and safeguarded our national security."

The campaign is modeled after a tradition in Australia and New Zealand, countries who honor the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps on April 25 each year, VA officials said. Nicholson said he hopes a U.S. tradition will ensue to emulate this pride in being a veteran and in honoring the nation's veterans.

VA is offering information about the campaign at http://www.va.gov/veteranspride, where veterans also can obtain information about how to replace mislaid medals and learn how to confirm the decorations to which they are entitled.

(From a Department of Veterans Affairs news release.)