Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans' Day. What does it mean to me, as a Vietnam vet?

I am conflicted about this day...not about my buddies in war. They will always be my blood brothers, and I would stand with them, even now, in any life-threatening situation. But, there is more to Veterans' Day than a bunch of grunts being "honored" by an empty government decree and a few parades.

If the government truly wants to "honor" all vets, then why don't they take good care of our wounded warriors? Did you know, it is very difficult for a Vietnam vet to get medical coverage for the effects of Agent Orange? Desert Storm vets are still struggling to get care for Gulf War Illness and persistent skin diseases of “unknown” origin. Only three years ago, Walter Reed Army Hospital gained national attention for black mold, cockroaches, decaying walls and many other unacceptable conditions faced by recuperating soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. Is this the government’s idea of caring for veterans? Even now, disabled vets receive treatment in some substandard VA hospitals. Don’t get me wrong, most staff are competent and doing all they can, but many of the the facilities are inferior and the bureaucratic policies for obtaining care just plain suck.

It is time for our self-serving politicians to stop making hot-air speeches on “Veteran’s” Day, and instead, invest in the young soldiers who are paying a lifetime price for their country’s decisions. In the current climate of cutting expenses, the VA is the only government organization that deserves and needs increased funding. Maybe we can pay for it by cutting Congressional support staff for each politician by 50%...hell, let’s go for 80%! We can sell Pelosi’s expensive personal/government jet and defund Obamacare. Hey, I’ve got it...let’s sell the government’s stock in General Motors and upgrade all the VA hospitals!

God bless the soldiers, my comrades for life.

So, what does this have to do with writing? Damned if I just needed to be said.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your post 100%.

    Of course, you saw how the overseas soldiers were treated with respect to the vote--the only currency that politicians fear. Never heard more about ignoring law and not getting the ballots out on time so that they could be counted after the most recent election.

    Out of sight, out of mind. And that's sadly how it has been for more than a few veterans, as you described.

    Okay, I'm rambling now. But to you, Dean, and all of your brothers, Thank You for all you've done, and continue to do.


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