Once-homeless vet invited to attend State of the Union speech Cynthia Dias holds Copper, a friend's dog who she looks after, at her apartment in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Once-homeless vet invited to attend State of the Union speech
Lexile

A formerly homeless veteran from Las Vegas was invited to sit in first lady Michelle Obama's visitor box during the State of the Union address.  The speech was on Jan. 12.
 
Cynthia Dias, 64, served during the Vietnam War.  She was on a hospital ship as a registered nurse. She attributed her years of homelessness to post-traumatic stress disorder.
 
About a year ago, Dias says, she was able to move from a homeless shelter for women and children into a former motel in downtown Las Vegas. It was renovated through private donations. Now it provides 122 units of housing for veterans. While staying in Veterans Village, residents like Dias get access to health care, job training and counseling.
 
The Obama administration is highlighting a challenge that the first lady and Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, issued for local leaders to do more to end veteran homelessness in 2015.
 
Las Vegas responded to the call. City leaders say they have enough services and programs in place to house every homeless veteran.
 
Dias said she's in shock from Mrs. Obama's invitation. Dias hopes people will think about her survival when they see her.
 
"I survived and I'm thriving here at Veterans Village," Dias said.
 
"For me, it's been a heaven-sent gift to be among other veterans who are suffering from PTSD," she said. "The camaraderie that veterans have for one another, it's better medication than the anti-depressants."
 
The founder of Veterans Village is Arnold Stalk.  He said it's important to get veterans off the street first and into a stable environment. Once that happens, it's easier to provide the health care and other support they'll need to live in a home permanently.
 
Dias was to join two other Obama guests. They are supporters who the president says provided early inspiration to his campaign.
 
One is Edith Childs, of Greenwood, South Carolina.  She met Obama at a rally in her state in June 2007. Obama credits her with coining the "Fired up! Ready to go!" call-and-response. It became a rallying cry for both of his White House bids.
 
Another guest was expected to be Earl Smith.  He was head of security at an Austin hotel when he met Obama in February 2008. He gave Obama a military patch he had carried with him for 40 years. Obama carried it with him for the rest of the campaign.

Filed Under:  
Assigned 98 times
CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why did Mrs. Obama invite the vet instead of someone more famous?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (51)
  • darianv-3-bar
    1/14/2016 - 03:58 p.m.

    Mrs.Obama invited Dias because she needed a supporter for her campaign and because dias is a veteran who detected years of her life to keep this country safe. My evidence is, "Dias was to join two other Obama guests. They are supporters who the president says provided early inspiration to his campaign," and "The Obama administration is highlighting a challenge that the first lady and Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, issued for local leaders to do more to end veteran homelessness in 2015."
    This article is really awesome because homelessness is all in the area that I live in, so its cool that people are doing something to help people like that.

  • kevinb-1-bar
    1/14/2016 - 07:34 p.m.

    President Obama because the homeless veteran probably did much more then some rich celeberty did because she served our country and helped the U.S. Which is a very important thing. Obama chose her instead of a celebrity because she is homeless and needed help and she served our country and that means a lot to citizens for serving our country. In the text it says. "Now it provides 122 units of housing for veterans." Which says that, not only her but 122 homeless veterans have a place to live now. I thought that this was an important article and kind because it is nice of people to give back for once.

  • summerc-1-bar
    1/14/2016 - 08:06 p.m.

    Mrs. Obama invited the vet instead of someone more famous because, as paragraph 10 states, "Dias was to join two other Obama guests. They are supporters who the president says provided early inspiration to his campaign."
    I found this article to be interesting because who would've known that a once-homeless vet would be invited to the State of the Union!

  • simonak-3-bar
    1/14/2016 - 09:21 p.m.

    Mrs. Obama invited the vet instead of someone more famous to show and spread the word about PTSD, (post traumatic stress disorder). In the passage, there is some dialogue for Mrs. Obama on how this an an issue. This shows how Mrs. Obama values the problem of PTSD, and how she invited this guest to show and appreciate that.
    I found this article interesting because for homework in Social Studies we had to watch the State of the Union speech and I can connect what I learned here to what I learned there.

    • cavelil0-dil
      4/05/2016 - 01:34 p.m.

      Why did Mrs. Obama invited the vet instead of someone more famous?

  • calis-3-bar
    1/14/2016 - 09:41 p.m.

    Mrs. Obama invited a once homeless vet to the State of The Union Address because she and Joe Biden's wife have recently undergone a project to prevent veterans from becoming homeless. The vet was once a homeless veteran, and she, because of the project, has a home, along with many other veterans. Mrs. Obama always has brought guests that pertain to the speech or to her public projects in some way, which is why she brought Cynthia Dias rather than, say, Taylor Swift. I liked this article, as it showcases Mrs. Obama's passion for creating a better America alongside her husband. I liked this article.

  • carlosp-6-bar
    1/14/2016 - 11:03 p.m.

    Mrs. Obama invited the vet instead of someone else because she felt that she needed help and that they needed to do something for the homeless in 2015 and this woman served in the Vietnam war as a nurse
    as it says in paragraph two "Cynthia Dias, 64, served during the Vietnam War. She was on a hospital ship as a registered nurse. She attributed her years of homelessness to post-traumatic stress disorder." As it states in this quote she was also homeless and had PTSD and eventually she was funded by private funds to move into a motel near to where she was homeless and had he shelter. So this is why Mrs. Obama chose her instead of some famous people that didn't mean anything.
    I think this article was really cool because Its obvious that homeless people need more opportunity and help and i am really happy that they are actually doing something to help the homeless especially with a disorder because that means they need even more help and thats what she has been given.

  • mauricioa-hol
    1/14/2016 - 11:49 p.m.

    Mrs. Obama is getting veteran supporters to help her campaign on homeless people who were once veterans. This is very serious because veterans who can no longer serve, and maybe have no family, its hard to get a job, and this happens a lot. I chose this because i have seen this driving through downtown los angeles and its so good to see people help.

  • paigea-3-bar
    1/15/2016 - 12:22 a.m.

    Mrs. Obama invited the vet instead of someone more famous because she is a huge inspiration for Mr. Obama as well as Mrs. Obama. The article states, "Dias was to join two other Obama guests. They are supporters who the president says provided early inspiration to his campaign." Also, Jill Biden and Michelle Obama," issued for local leaders to do more to end veteran homelessness in 2015.'' Therefore proving that housing homeless veterans is very important to the two powerful women. I liked this article a lot and I found it amazing how Mrs. Obama would be so kind and compassionate to the homeless veterans in our country. She truly is a very inspirational woman.

  • brookem-1-bar
    1/15/2016 - 12:53 a.m.

    M,s Obama invited the vet instead of someone more famous because "The Obama administration is highlighting a challenge that the first lady and Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, issued for local leaders to do more to end veteran homelessness in 2015." Ms Obama and Ms Biden wanted to publicize the idea of homeless vets and how they served for our country and how we need to give back.

    I thought this was interesting because I was wondering why Michelle Obama didn't invite a famous person instead.

Take the Quiz Leave a comment
ADVERTISEMENT