26 May 2014

Thoughts on Memorial Day 2014: War, veterans' care, and partisan politics

Today is Memorial Day in the USA, a patriotic holiday set aside each year to honor the military men and women who have died in service to this country. I can think of no worthier reason for a holiday.

As much as I detest the concept and reality of war, and violence in general, human nature is such that nations must have a defense system in place to protect their citizens. And I can think of no more noble career than that of defending one's countrymen.

Problems arise when the military is used for offense rather than defense. But, in most cases, that is not the fault of our troops. They are just following orders. And so they deserve our support.

Sadly, too often, our surviving troops come home from deployments overseas only to find themselves homeless and/or affected by mental and physical scars of war. Then, to add insult to injury, the VA makes it as difficult as possible for our veterans to obtain the care they need. No wonder some 22 veterans per day are committing suicide.

We can - and must - do better. Instead, people in Washington just point fingers.

As we honor our fallen troops, we should also take time to consider that caring for our surviving veterans should not be a partisan issue. And anyone who tries to make it so does not really support our troops. Anyone who tries to make it so should be voted out of office at the next opportunity.

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