This Veterans Day consider what it is to return from service with a woefully underfunded VA. With a government which has yet to fully plan for aftercare for the returning wounded. And with the prospect of yet another deployment despite PTSD and other issues because of stop-loss orders.
America’s soldiers deserve better. So do their families.
The promise of Veterans Day so long ago made was that the sacrifices would not be forgotten, that the costs of war would be looked square in the eye before another was begun. Sara has this exactly right:
I suspect there’s a direct relationship between the near-invisibility of Veterans’ Day and the near-invisibility of our support for our veterans — or our awareness of the true costs of our current wars. It’s a lot easier on our corporate masters if we spend the day shopping the Veterans’ Day sales at the mall, rather than spending it standing out on Main Street listening to our veterans’ stories and confronting the actual flesh-and-blood consequences of our leaders’ decisions….sobered into silence once again by the magnitude of the sacrifice these men and women are making.
…a heartfelt willingness to stop, remember, and honestly reckon the cost can bring tremendous moral gravity and authenticity to progressive arguments for reason, diplomacy, and peace….You’re forced to realize that once a year isn’t enough; that they are part of your community, and their day-to-day care is a community responsibility. The "thanks" rings hollow if you’re not backing up the words with real and constant support.
The fact that I’ve been writing about the issue of veteran’s care falling through the cracks and mental health services being wholly inadequate for the last few years is shameful enough. That we see this Veteran’s Day a still-rising tally of suicides among soldiers who are not receiving adequate mental health care, whose families still have far too little support – from both the VA and from their communities is an indictment of who we are in this nation.
Shame on all of us for allowing this to continue.
UPDATE: Bob Geiger has a few choice words on this issue.