Shaming Veterans Day
By Galen Larson
Here it is, another Veterans Day, and Congress cannot find the money to build a hospital in Denver to care for our veterans. It took less than 24 hours to deliver “shock and awe” to the people of Iraq, but 14 years later, we seem not to be able to find the much-needed funds to care for those that sacrificed so much and still are coping with the lingering after-effects, from loss of limbs to mental anguish.
After serving two, three, or more tours in a debacle brought on through lies and ignorance, those who garnered headstones or head wounds will not be helped much by parades and flowers.
It’s time those that signed on to the war, our Congress, should come up with adequate funding for veterans care.
Maybe the veterans should have another gathering on the Capitol lawn protesting the lack of funds for their care. Oh, that won’t work, something like it was already tried in 1932, when thousands of desperate World War I veterans and their supporters marched to ask for immediate cash payments in return for the bonus certificates they had been given for their service and which couldn’t be cashed in until 1945.
What happened as a result of their protest? President Hoover ordered the protesters evicted. Mac- Arthur and Patton – yes, you heard me right – charged them. Two veterans were shot and killed, the marchers and their families were driven away and their possessions were burned.
Things have hardly changed since then. Our own government continues to treat our warriors almost as shamefully. Now, those in Washington who are coveting the money are now clamoring for another war.
To-day across our fathers’ graves, The astonished years reveal The remnant of that desperate host Which cleansed our East with steel. Hail and farewell! We greet you here, With tears that none will scorn – O Keepers of the House of old, Or ever we were born! One service more we dare to ask – Pray for us, heroes, pray, That when Fate lays on us our task We do not shame the Day! — Rudyard Kipling
But shame the day we do. With not a peep, we “honor” our veterans by rushing out to purchase the Jeeps and mattresses on sale on the day set up to recognize those who fought to bring us comfort.
Meanwhile, the corporations with their open doors laugh up their sleeve. We could wait a week or more to buy the tires on their floor.
It bothers me no end that we veterans can’t come together and parade in front of these corporate hypocrites and really show that we care about our fallen and wounded comrades.
To those that deplore diplomacy, remember, as long as we are talking, behind hearses we are not walking. To those that lie and send others to die, they do not hear mothers’ anguished cry.
It’s Veterans Day, not a time to rejoice, but to hang our heads, remember those who were lost – and demand that our government deliver the care it has promised to those who serve us all.
Galen Larson writes from Montezuma County, Colo.