Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day 2007

In 1961, President John F Kennedy marked Veteran's Day at Arlington National Cemetery with these words:
Today we are here to celebrate and to honor and to commemorate the dead and the living, the young men who in every war since this country began have given testimony to their loyalty to their country and their own great courage.
And it is so this Veteran's Day 2007.

But the truth is that we have been performing a disgraceful disservice to the men and women who serve our country. Our current president and his administration sent a new generation to fight their war. The premise for the invasion of Iraq was based on lies and fear. Our military was sent, not to defend our country, but to insure the bank accounts of George Bush and his military contractor cronies would grow into obscene piles of gold and to insure that our country got a piece of the pie; oil, that is. Our military was sent to Iraq without proper equipment, proper training and proper planning, but they went, because that is what our military does when their Commander-in-Chief gives them orders. This president, this administration knows nothing of loyalty to our country and our troops. Courage is not a word in their vocabulary or in their soul.

What a sad coincidence in these days before Veteran's Day, that a report, Vital Mission: Ending Homelessness Among Veterans was released this week telling us that Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday. This is true despite the fact that veterans are better educated, more likely to be employed, and have a lower poverty rate than the general population. And that is a national disgrace. Is this how we honor the men and women who stood for this country when we asked them to?

There are many excellent and compassionate programs to support returning veterans, but sadly, they are generally paid for and instituted by caring private organizations who understand that we made a commitment to our veterans. They understand it is time to "pay back", they understand what it means to authentically support the troops. Too bad this administration doesn't.

When a new recruit raises his or her hand to take the oath of recruitment, we, who benefit from this symbiotic relationship, must commit to providing for them while in service to our country and when that job has been completed. We owe them that. Where is the government when it comes time to honor that commitment? How is it so easy for much of this country turn their back on the commitment we made to veterans?

What are you doing to support veterans? I know we can do better. But will we?

To Veterans from any era- thank you for your service.

1 comment:

Yehudi01 said...

Thank you for your post. When I started reading, I thought I was going to hate this post...but I found that I really appreciate what you said. I was an Army Ranger for 8 yrs and saw more than my fair share of combat. I voted for Pres. Bush twice due to the fact that I felt that he was going to restore pride to our military, (we were embarassed to be led by Clinton), and we'd be proud to follow a "hard-charger." Secondly, he was better than any of the alternatives. Regardless of how he's mishandled things, I believe with everything in me that we'd be FAR worse off had Al Gore or John Kerry ever been elected.

War is always ugly, and noone wants a loved one to perish on the battlefield...I am deply sorry for your loss. My best friend vaporized in front of me as we entered a building that was booby-trapped. I understand your pain. The war is less about WMD's, (they existed...we found evidence that they were smuggled into Syria prior to the invasion), but rather we are providing a better life for people who merely want to work hard, provide for their family, spoil their kids a little, and have a safe place to lay their heads at night. Everyone on earth wants the same thing, and deserves that. The radical elements simply need to be dealt with in the same manner...double tap to the head.

I was approached on NUMEROUS occasions by grown men openly weeping, saying, "Tenk you, tenk, you, tenk you America...." They probably had countless family members kidnapped and murdered by the Hussein regime. Or perhaps one of his 8 yr-old little girls was brutally raped repeatedly by Uday Hussein who regularly took class pictures of 5th grade girls and picked out his favorites for that evening. They would then be picked up by his henchmen and brought to him. Unthinkable. We are ensuring that no other little girls have to experience that horror.

We are doing 100x's more good than is ever reported in the media, which is tragic. Your son's death, though tragic and unthinkably painful for you and his other loved ones, made other's lives better. May G-d bless you.