Nov. 10, 2020, marks the 245th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. Happy birthday to my fellow CNMI Devil Dogs!
Nov. 11, 2020, is Veterans Day. Happy Veterans Day to my fellow service members.
Veterans Day’s origins date back to the ending of World War I, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11, 1919, as Armistice Day. He said in his commemoration speech, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory…” In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first Veterans Day Proclamation honoring American veterans of all wars. (va.gov)
American service members have made sacrifices throughout the history of the United States and laws have been created to protect and support our service members and veterans who have been injured while serving our country. In 1918 the Soldiers Rehabilitation Act was created to provide services for vocational rehabilitation of veterans who became disabled during World War I. Through the years this law has been changed and improved to ensure veterans with physical disabilities were eligible for services. The law was expanded to also provide services to those with mental health needs and to civilians.
The Soldiers Rehabilitation Act evolved to a point where in 1973, the Rehabilitation Act was created to address equal access of people with disabilities through the removal of architectural, employment, and transportation barriers. Also included in this law is Section 504, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of physical and mental disabilities in programs receiving federal funds.
The Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems, Inc. is the CNMI designated organization established to “Protect the Civil, Legal, and Human Rights of people with disabilities.” We use laws like the Rehabilitation Act to ensure people with disabilities in our community, including our veterans with disabilities, are free of discrimination based on their disability.
For more information about protection of your rights, please contact NMPASI at 235-7273/4 or visit us online at www.nmpasi.org.
Greg Borja (Special to the Saipan Tribune)
Greg Borja is program manager at the Northern Marianas Protection and Advocacy Systems Inc.