Posted: 05/26/14 02:55
by Dave Mindeman
"Thank you for your service."
You hear a lot of that these days. People want to say something to our service people to show their appreciation. And it is sincere. Its not like the days of Vietnam - when the people's mistrust of government wrongly targeted the real victims of that war, our service men and women.
We do appreciate the sacrifice of our armed forces. And we appreciate, as well, the sacrifice of their families. The videos of reunions when one of our own comes home are filled with emotions that resonate with everyone.
But a simple "thank you" is not enough.
We take several tours of duty from these patriots - months and years of their lives in combat zones. Sometimes we take physical parts of them - sometimes we take part of their mental well being. These are terrible prices to pay for duty, honor, and country.
We need priorities that are commensurate with the price they have paid for that service.
We need to concentrate on the people. To make sure their health care is met completely. That their education needs are fully funded. That their ability to get a job is met with every conceivable facilitation. That their families' needs are always met.
And it must be people over hardware. Planes and ships and tanks that the army does not want or need have to be eliminated whenever it is within our means to do so and move that funding to our men and women in uniform.
There is hard evidence that we have failed our fighting forces on a particular front. The VA has failed them in health care. So we must fix it immediately. A Republican suggested that we give them vouchers that can be used outside the Veteran's Administration system. That is a good idea and I think implementing that is in the works.
We can investigate the wrongdoing as we go - but it is much more important to fix the problem now. So lets find a way to do it.
When it comes to veterans, there should not be partisan sides. There should only be the vets side - we all stand with them.
Thanking them for their service is a good and proper thing to do. But let's do more. Let's give them what they need to make coming home complete.
On this Memorial Day, let's demand a call to action on Vet issues. That is the thank you that matters.