The following 11 states have signed proclamations so far in 2012, declaring March 13 as annual K9 Veterans Day, setting the example for the rest of the Nation:
• New Jersey
• South Carolina
• West Virginia
New Jersey was the first state that proclaimed March 13 of every year as K-9 Veterans' Day.
That has blossomed into the current effort to get every state, and as many cities as is possible, to also proclaim March 13 of every year as a much-deserved special day to honor our war dogs, and we encourage you to get your hometown involved by contacting your mayor and governor or, better yet, your U.S. representative and two senators. Congress members generally only want to hear from their constituents, so if you are not sure of your congressional district or who your member is, you can find out by visiting these sites:
Representatives: www.house.gov (enter your zip code).
Senators: www.senate.gov (follow instructions).
Why K9 Veterans Deserve to be Remembered
Dogs have bled, suffered, and died while serving in all our wars, including this war on terror, and they have done so in ways that do us all proud.
Dogs were there in the trenches of France in WW I, and the slopes of Iwo Jima in WW II, and though many were pure breeds, some others were mixed breeds, and our troops didn’t care either way. They were simply grateful to have one, and they treated them with respect as a fellow soldier. Of course, dogs also served with honor in Korea, and Vietnam, and wherever our country has called them to serve.
March 13, 1942 is the official date of birth of the United States K9 Corps, and so it seems only right to annually honor the service of dogs in war on March 13. We only seek your heartfelt desire to help, and to be a voice for those deserving veterans who have no "voice."
And we are certainly honored to have current handlers voicing their support for this campaign.
The MWD teams are an integral part of the U.S. mission in Iraq and Afghanistan, devoting many hours to carrying out all the traditional roles of military dogs. Guard duty is a basic MWD function, but their responsibilities today will include base security, individual and crowd control, tracking, and explosive and narcotic detection. Most dogs are dual-purpose trained: Police dogs first, then with a specialty skill such as bomb detection.
Because of the attacks on our homeland, many more dogs than are normally associated with the term “war dogs” are in the fight, and this campaign will not discriminate against them. The war came to us, and so it has become seriously important to us as a nation to have our borders, transportation centers, ports, bases, fuel dumps, energy compounds, and many more places, as well guarded as is possible, and for the most part they are guarded by dogs that are not in the military.
Police K-9s, Customs K-9s, Border Patrol K-9s, Secret Service K-9s, Airport Police K-9s, F.B.I. K-9s and the local Police K-9 units who protect our neighborhoods should be honored accordingly.
And let's not forget the privately handled search and rescue dog teams that worked tirelessly at Ground Zero and at the Pentagon on that fateful day of 9/11. Private teams of bomb-squad dogs and security dogs have worked in Iraq and continue to do so in Afghanistan and other sites as needed. Private therapy dogs working in hospitals both here and abroad help to heal our wounded warriors.
Service dogs are now assisting those who are handicapped by the war to have a more meaningful life. May we never forget as well the service of those privately handled dogs who search for human remains of service personnel killed in action, which are so important to their families. And of course, many of our troops will readily tell you of how unofficial war dogs and mascots helped in keeping their spirits high as the horrors of war worked to depress them.
World War II is the only war in which people “loaned” their dogs to the war effort. When that war was over, they got their dogs back.
Things certainly changed by the time Vietnam came to be. That is the only war in which the dogs were declared “surplus equipment” and left behind.