Once-homeless vet invited to attend State of the Union speech
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
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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 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 to provide 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 and 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.
 
Edith Childs, of Greenwood, South Carolina, 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 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.

Source URL: https://www.tweentribune.com/article/tween78/once-homeless-vet-invited-attend-state-union-speech/

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


COMMENTS (20)
  • TaylorSeifert-Ste
    1/16/2016 - 12:55 p.m.

    I think it's awesome that Mrs. Obama invited Dias to attend the State of the Union address. An act like that shows we are all people. It doesn't matter where you are in life, what you're struggles are, or what material things you have; everyone is equal.

  • Brandon1231-YYCA
    1/18/2016 - 07:18 p.m.

    I think that it is cool to have these people do something like this when there are people in need of money and homes. I think that they should be able to give them jobs so that they can do better things for their people and so that they can help their environment. I think that they should be able to get rid of the homeless people by getting them homes and giving them jobs. Giving them another chance might decrease the homeless population. I think that having them use money for helping people is a good thing. If they are scared that it might not work, then they should have a fundraiser for the homeless people and they might have a few thousand dollars from that. Then they will be able to help more and more homeless people.

  • reannef-2-glo
    1/19/2016 - 07:43 a.m.

    Mrs. Obama invited the vet instead of someone more famous because the president said she provided inspiration to his campaign.

  • mayab-glo
    1/19/2016 - 11:29 a.m.

    I think Mrs.Obama invited a vet because she risked her life so that we could live with peace. I also, believe that she was invited because she stands there as a symbol of what happens to most vets that come out of war and that it is proof of Mr. Obama's help with homeless soldiers.

  • parkerl-1-glo
    1/19/2016 - 11:29 a.m.

    Just because someone isn't famous, doesn't mean they haven't made an impact or a great change. The vet's story is very inspirational and is a good example of someone small helping in big ways.

  • davidd-4-bar
    1/20/2016 - 10:40 p.m.

    Mrs. Obama invited the vet instead of someone famous because "the first lady and Jill Biden, the vice president's wife, issued for local leaders to do more to end veteran homelessness in 2015."(paragraph-4). I think it was a good thing that the first lady is raising awareness for the homeless vets and if they are of the street and "staying in Veterans Village, residents like Dias get access to health care, job training and counseling."(paragraph-3. then one their in a stable environment "it's easier to provide the health care and other support they'll need to live in a home permanently"(paragraph-9). I found this article interesting because I was surprised that a homeless vet would get invited to the State of the Union Address

  • josepht-2-bar
    1/21/2016 - 08:40 p.m.

    I think Mrs. Obama invited the vet, because the vet provided them an early inspiration and to show that you didn't have to be famous to be part of the Union speech. " hey are supporters who the president says provided early inspiration to his campaign". I think it is interesting that Mrs. Obama would invite a homeless vet into the Union speech.

  • genevieveb-6-bar
    1/22/2016 - 12:41 a.m.

    Mrs Obama invited the vet instead of someone more famous due to her campaign to end homelessness. At the article's beginning, it is stated that, "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" (paragraph 4). Homelessness is a serious issue in the modern day, and it is empowering that Michelle Obama invited an everyday person- a homeless person at that- to sit-in on the President's State of the Union speech. Mrs. Obama invited a homeless vet rather than a celebrity because of the government's fight against homelessness.

    I found this article interesting because I like how Michelle Obama, someone with influential governmental power, invited an unknown person to the State of the Union address.

  • ryanh-ver
    1/22/2016 - 06:47 a.m.

    how did PDSD lead to her becoming homeless or lead to her being there with no home to go to or even family to help?

  • tiffanyf-1-bar
    2/05/2016 - 01:31 a.m.

    Mrs. Obama invited the vet instead of someone more famous because she wanted to raise awareness for homeless veterans. Cynthia Dias represented all homeless veterans throughout the nation. Dias said "she's in shock from Mrs. Obama's invitation and hopes people will think about her survival when they see her." By inviting Cynthia Dias to the State of Union speech, people are much more enlightened about the effects of being a veteran. This article is interesting because I never thought veterans would not be fully appreciated for their had work. The helped fight in a war for this nation and I think they should be recognized as heroes.

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