Somehow, America, yes, you read that right A-M-E-R-I-C-A, seems to forget that when you send men and women off to war, we owe them a debt, not only of gratitude, but much more than that. I didn't say we "ought to give them" or "it would be nice to give them" but it's a DEBT, just as big or bigger than any debt we now or will ever owe anyone. It's a debt owed for the freedom we enjoy every day, for the ability to open your eyes in the morning and be free of tyranny and oppression, to have what you have in this country. No matter how much, or how little you have, it's because of THEM that you have anything at all.
We owe them a standard of care, and if needed, a standard of living, commensurate with their sacrifice to this country. They didn't ask for their wounds, external, internal or mental that resulted in their disabilities, whether those disabilities can be seen or not. Many veterans return home from overseas without any signs of traumatic injury, and are seemingly fine for weeks, months, even years, and then the unthinkable occurs. What they were exposed to, be it toxic materials or the traumatic stresses of combat, or even exposures beyond what a human should endure, pours out and they start to fall apart. This can occur slowly or all at once and they have no support system in place. Many vets turn to alcohol or drugs to try and cope. Sadly, some commit suicide. The suicide rate among veterans is high, although this has been underplayed for years by government agencies. Frankly, they don't want you to know how poorly they handle the veterans problems when they return home.
The Veterans Administration is underfunded every year, and organizations that are pro-actively helping the vets, such as the Disabled American Veterans and American Legion, to name two, constantly fight to to push the congress and senate to appropriate needed funds. But it's an uphill battle to secure funding, when the politicians would rather pork barrel money for precious personal projects in their districts, than help those who have sacrificed so much for their country. The politicians constantly attach pork barrel spending to Department of Defense annual appropriations, and lump the Veterans Administration spending in with this, so that when they start to line item some spending out, and it goes to the White House, monies get cut out and the VA loses. Thus, the veterans lose while the pork remains in the budgets for pet projects that don't help the vets one iota!
What is happening is longer waits for veterans to receive benefits from the VA; sometimes years for those benefits to be received. In some cases, the veteran dies before benefits are granted. This is now getting worse as all the new veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are returning. Time to get a medical appointment is longer and the 30 day rule is being bent if not broken. Your visits to your primary care physician have changed from every three months to once every six months to once a year. Where you used to see a specialist every three months for a serious condition, the doctors' workloads have become so high that you're now lucky to see a specialist every six months. And, many of the doctors appear to be newbie residents who are not all that familiar with combat type injuries, although some are very good. You just don't know who'll you'll get as there is a big turnover as well. Don't even think about being referred to a cardiologist unless you're in the ER for a heart condition as they don't have enough in the system to refer you to. That's even if you have a heart condition, and that's from personal experience!
If a vet needs medications for a service related condition, the VA will provide the medication, but if the dosage is half what the VA formulary provides, he will have to split the pills in half, even if it results in an uneven dosage. Wonder how many times that results in medical problems in itself? But again, that saves the government money that can be better spent on political pork!
Americans need to DEMAND their government to appropriately fund the VA annually with a guaranteed budget, and DEMAND our veterans have an ombudsman to oversee their benefits are provided in a timely and fair manner. Every year, these valiant warriors who gave so much to defend your freedom, have to wonder and worry whether there will be funding to provide for them and their healthcare for another year.
Sometime, think of what would have happened in our history, where you and your family would be right now, if nobody had answered the call. If not one person had stepped forward to defend. From the revolution forward, if not one person had written that blank check to the United States Of America, placing their life on the payable to line, for the freedom of this country, and freeing others from oppression and tryanny.
Where would you be right now? .........