Saturday, November 11, 2006

Screw The Parades

Screw the Veteran's holiday sales too. A national holiday whose purpose does nothing to benefit the people who served their country and are promptly forgotten till the next year when they are dragged out again for a token holiday that is more concerned with commerce than honor.

For the thirty years that I have been a veteran I have watched people enjoy themselves without a clue or a care for the major sacrifices that veterans made and are still making.

For thirty years I have watched my government strip the benefits from the veterans and the retirees. People who were considered for the duration of their enlistment to be the property of the United States Government. You become the numerical equivalent of equipment from the moment you raise your right hand and swear the oath to protect the United States. You go where they tell you, when they tell you and how they tell you. You dress as they tell you, when they tell you and how they tell you. You eat where they tell you, when they tell you and how they tell you. You are property and are never allowed to forget it. It is not a joke when they tell you that if you get a sunburn you have damaged government property, some commanding officers have been known to award the offending troop with an Article 15 and a dock in pay.

For this, we get a parade and the rest of the country gets between ten and fifty percent off at the nearest mall.

For thirty years I have watched as veterans became a significant portion of America's homeless.
Although accurate numbers are impossible to come by ... no one keeps national records on homeless veterans ... the VA estimates that nearly 200,000 veterans are homeless on any given night. And more than half a million experience homelessness over the course of a year. Conservatively, one out of every three homeless males who is sleeping in a doorway, alley, or box in our cities and rural communities has put on a uniform and served our country ... now they need America to remember them.
For this, children get another day off from school while veterans who have jobs, work to stay afloat. Almost two years ago this article in the Christian Science Monitor appeared, alerting some of the public to the impending problem. What has been done since then? Congress cut benefits and care for veterans. The people's response? Magnetic ribbons for their cars, not the veteran's.

Representative Chet Edwards has a proposal that would be helpful and honor those who are serving their country at this very moment. It is the very least that should be done to help repair the damage that war inflicts on the survivors. Never forget that all gave some and some gave all.

Screw the parades.

Cross posted at Big Brass Blog.

1 comment:

  1. I'm one of the lucky vets. I managed to somehow time my service to coincide with one of the short periods when we weren't fighting someplace. Miraculous, but accidental.

    When Veteran's Day comes around, I never think of it as something to honor me. I volunteered and did my time and sacrificed little. I figure the honor ought to go to those who sacrificed more than me.

    My father and grandfather were vets of WWII and WWI respectively. I've heard their stories and felt their pain and I always remember them and people like you on this day.

    I won't give you a parade, but I will say thanks from a "quasi-veteran" to you.