The Fourth of July is a time to celebrate America’s independence. As part of this, it’s a good idea to keep U.S. veterans in mind. Veterans put themselves at risk of serious injuries, illnesses, and death to defend America. Further, many older veterans are at risk of a cancer called mesothelioma due to military asbestos exposure. Learn how you can honor veterans with mesothelioma this Independence Day.
Shared Histories: July Fourth and Military Asbestos Exposure
July 4, 1776, marks the day when the 13 original colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence and founded the United States of America. Independence Day has been celebrated annually every year on July 4 ever since.
Independence Day became a federal holiday in 1941 — a year that also coincided with widespread military asbestos use. The U.S. military started to use asbestos, a highly durable material, back in the 1930s, but World War II saw every military branch heavily rely on asbestos in ships, bases, vehicles, and more. Military use of asbestos continued through the early 1980s.
The general public didn’t know the risks of asbestos exposure at first, as makers of asbestos-based products hid the risks for decades. However, asbestos is now known to cause mesothelioma, a life-threatening cancer, decades after exposure. A third of all mesothelioma patients today are veterans as a result.
During this year’s Fourth of July festivities, take time to celebrate with veterans in your life. All U.S. veterans deserve our respect for putting their lives on the line to protect our country.
Further, U.S. veterans with mesothelioma deserve military benefits, medical aid, and compensation. Access all three right now with our help.
Celebrating July Fourth With Veterans
Cookouts & Food
Grilling up some food with friends and family is a staple of Independence Day festivities. If a veteran you love lives close by or will be in town, make them a tasty hot dog or hamburger on the grill this year.
There are plenty of other holiday-themed recipes you can try as well, like cakes with patriotic frosting, layered smoothies, and much more.
Veterans with mesothelioma may have dietary restrictions depending on their treatment plan. Make sure you accommodate these needs. There are plenty of good substitutes (for example, grilled veggie burgers if the veteran can’t eat meat) to try.
Parades are a longstanding Independence Day tradition. Most of these parades will happen the morning or early afternoon of July Fourth and often feature local floats or marching bands.
Consider wearing sunscreen and bringing water if you’ll be attending or participating in a Fourth of July parade. Temperatures are often in the 80s or higher in much of the country this time of year.
There is also a National Independence Day Parade that takes place in Washington, D.C., every year on the morning of July Fourth. The parade features military personnel, floats, marching bands, celebrity guests, and more. Those that can’t go to the in-person parade can view it live on Facebook.
Fireworks have been set off as part of Independence Day festivities since the holiday’s first organized celebration in 1777. This year will be no different. It’s likely that your city or town will set off local fireworks during the evening of July Fourth.
You can check local newspapers or websites to learn more about when and where you can view July Fourth fireworks displays.
There will also be live broadcasts or livestreams of fireworks for those who can’t attend in person (for example, patients in the hospital for mesothelioma treatments).
For example, PBS is broadcasting “A Capitol Fourth” starting at 8 p.m. EST on local affiliates and its website. This program will feature a live fireworks display and a wide range of musical performances.
Highlighting Aid for U.S. Veterans With Mesothelioma on July Fourth
July Fourth is an important time to keep U.S. veterans in mind — especially those with service-related disabilities like mesothelioma.
Thankfully, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a lot of benefits available to veterans with mesothelioma.
Key mesothelioma VA benefits include:
- Free or low-cost mesothelioma treatments from top doctors
- Financial aid for next of kin and survivors
- Monthly compensation often worth more than $3,500
Veterans can file for mesothelioma VA benefits right now.
Veterans with mesothelioma can also pursue even more compensation through private claims filed against makers of asbestos-containing products. These claims can award over $1 million and are not filed against the government.
On July Fourth and every day, the Mesothelioma Veterans Center commends veterans for serving our country. We are proud to help veterans with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases in any way we can.