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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

A True Thank You To Veterans

Category: Veterans
Posted: 11/11/13 11:39

by Dave Mindeman

I lived in the Vietnam era. I wasn't called up....I had a high lottery number, but I had to think about what I would do if I had been drafted. One friend of mine flat out stated he would go to Canada. He never had to really make that choice and I'm not sure how that would have played out. Over the years, he turned conservative...which has an irony of its own.

But I think about Veterans a lot. My father-in-law talked about his stint in WWII....well, he talked about some of it. He never talked much about the combat part. He was in the Quartermaster corps and one of his toughest assignments was to clean up the aftermath on the Normandy beaches after D-Day. Those were not long conversations. His eyes would trail off in the distance when he would think about it. Mostly he talked about his buddies and their relationships, but not much about what he did.

My uncle served in WWII as well. He was involved with the Italian campaign and was severely wounded at Anzio. He came back a very broken man. He turned to alcohol to drown out the constant pain. He never really recovered and died of cancer after a troubled life.

We take our American life for granted. Too much. These men and women who serve their country deserve better than we are giving them. Those that serve consider politics a secondary matter. They focus on the job and what needs to be done. And they do it - unlike their political representatives.

And how do we reward them? Oh, we think we are giving them health care and an education and other benefits. But are we really paying them back for doing a job that can cost them their lives and their livelihood?

I see disability backlogs at the VA. I see veterans coming back to unemployment when we promised them they could come back to their jobs. I see veterans who are homeless and hungry. I see endless reams of paperwork involving simple benefits. I see mental health inadequacy for so many with post traumatic stress disorders.

On this Veterans Day, let's not just thank them for their "service". Thank them for their incredible sacrifice and thank them with a goal of meeting their needs right now...today.

Sometimes I think that we should just implement an across the board "Hero Tax" in which we take 1% of everybody's income in the entire nation and earmark it only for the needs of our veterans. Make sure they get every bit of health care required. Every educational benefit deserved. And every piece of dignity that can be afforded.

Our veterans are not just a cog in the military industrial complex...they are our dads and moms, brothers and sisters, friends and co-workers. When called upon they said YES, an unequivocal YES. They sacrificed more than we had a right to ask.

So on this Veteran's Day...let's not just thank them - let's see to it that we do what we can to repay them.
comments (1) permalink
11/11/13 12:19
I volunteered during the height of the Vietnam War and people treat me like an ass, when you people respect us.


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