Third Party & Independents Archives

Time to Say Thank You.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll drive out to the Dallas Fort Worth National Cemetery to visit my dad’s grave site. My dad was a veteran of World War II and rests there with thousands of his comrades. As today is veteran’s day, I wanted to write a small post of thanks to all who have served in the military and to those continuing to do so. The service these men and women perform is a remarkable gift to those of us who have benefited from their protection. I would like to say that we understand and appreciate the work, sacrifices, and benefits that have been provided to us by our soldiers. I’d like to say that we have been steadfast in our appreciation, recognition and reward for a job well done.

I'd like to think that we believe as Churchill said "Never have so many owed so much to so few". I'd also like to think we who have never served have some small understanding of what they went through to do their jobs. Certainly, when we think about it, the problems we generally face in our jobs pale in comparison to what they face or experienced. After doing a little research, I'm concerned we don't really understand or appreciate their sacrifices, especially of those who no longer carry arms into combat, but instead carry the scars of their experiences.

According to the National Veteran's Foundation (www.nvf.org), I found the following:

1. There are about 31 million veterans in America today. Many of them have lasting trauma from their service known as Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The National Center for PTSD estimates that one of every 20 veterans has suffered symptoms such as bad dreams, irritability and flashbacks. Research suggests that as much as 30% of US soldiers who fought in Korea that are still alive suffer PTSD symptoms. The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey found that 30% of Vietnam Veterans have suffered from PTSD. The numbers here are daunting. While PTSD can range in severity, some veterans are truly disabled by this and have lost considerable abilty to function in civilian life without treatment and medication. Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are also suffering from some type of psychological trauma. Estimates indicate that around 18% of the veterans of these conflicts are impacted.

2. The VA has seen a tenfold increase in PTSD cases in the last year. According to the VA, more than 23 thousand veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan have sought help for Mental Health Disorders.

3. According to to the Pentagon, since March 2003, 40 US Soldiers and Marines have committed suicide in Iraq. At least 20 Soldiers and Marines have committed suicide since returning home. Since the end of the Vietnam War, over 110 thousand of the 3.4 million veterans who served in Viet Nam have committed suicide.

4. The Miles Foundation reports that calls to their Domestic Violence for military spouses has increased from 50 to 500 per month since the start of the Iraq War.

5. The divorce rate among active duty soldiers deployed has increased signficantly, with officers impacted the most. Last year 3,32 officer's marriages ended in divorce. This is up 78% from 2003 and more than 3 1/2 times the number of 2000. For enlisted personnel, the numbers are 7,152 divorces, up 28% from 2003 and 53% higher than in 2000.

6. One in three homeless men in America is a veteran. Of all the homeless veterans, 42% are Vietnam veterans.

7. According to the VA, a study of inpatients at their facilities indicates that nearly 85% of them have annual incomes of less than $15 thousand dollars.

8. The number of the veterans using the VA system has risen from 2.9 million to 5 million in 2003.

9. In 2005, the VA forecasted a $2.6 billion shortfall for meeting the growing healthcare needs of US Veterans. The VA's patient to doctor ratio has risen from 335 to 1 to 531 to 1 between 2000 and September 2004.

I consider the information described above to be appalling. How are we treating those who have performed jobs that most of us wouldn't do or in some cases intentially avoided? Not very well. It's important as we go about our daily routines to consider the work and the plight of these, our benefactors.

I was recently in Washington DC, and had some time to visit the Viet Nam, Korean and World War II memorials as well as the Arlington National Cemetery. All are stirring tributes to those that have served. At the same time, the memorials don't feed nor provide care to the sick or shelter to the homeless. I can think of no better memorial than our country's collective demand of our government that we do better for our living veterans who need our help. We need to be both personally engaged in assisting those veterans who need it as well as calling on our congressmen, senators and our president to do something about the situation described above.

We have elections coming up in 2006. One of the questions that I will certainly be asking of the candidates will be around improving the conditions of veterans who need our help. Let's pay homage to the living memorials that are walking around every day. If you see a soldier, thank them for their service. If you know a veteran or have a relative who has served, make a point of thanking them. It's the least we can do for the work they've done for us.

Dad, thanks.

Posted by Dennis at November 11, 2005 6:04 PM
Comments
Comment #92143

Yes, allow me to thank the veterans for their bravery as well as their sacrifices.
And let me also acknowledge the fact that this administration has continued to cut their benefits, and that on Tuesday House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN) announced that “veterans service organizations will no longer have the opportunity to present testimony before a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees”.
That’s right, three days before Veterans Day, they decided to announce that the only way that veterans have been allowed to discuss issues that are important to them with members of Congress is going to be no longer permitted. For the first time in 55 years, veterans both able and disabled, have been silenced by Congress.
That is how Republican’s “Support our Troops”.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 11, 2005 7:59 PM
Comment #92149

I’m a bit confused because I looked for that and found this:


http://veterans.house.gov/news/109/11-8-05.html

Calling on veterans’ groups to play a more influential role in developing the annual Department of Veterans Affairs budget, Buyer presented his plan to engage them early in the annual budget process.

“Now, veterans organizations are more relevant and material to the budget fight,” he told those in attendance.

In past years, VSOs have come to Capitol Hill to offer their views in joint hearings of both the House and Senate Veterans Committees. The impact of these hearings has been limited because they have occurred weeks after Congress developed its “views and estimates” response to the President’s budget request, which it does by March each year.

Under the new schedule, the VSOs will be asked to present their views on the budget and their legislative priorities in early February at the same time the President sends his budget to Capitol Hill. In addition, the VSOs will also be asked to testify in February at a series of full committee and subcommittee hearings on a variety of legislative proposals directly affecting veterans.

Complementing Chairman Buyer’s decision, retired Air Force Command Master Sgt. Mark Olanoff, Executive Director of The Retired Enlisted Association’s Washington, DC, office, referring to the old process, said “I came in with TREA’s President after the views and estimates were already done. We should be in at the beginning. This is good.”

I do believe more should be done for our veterans though, and I don’t agree with most of the budget cuts that have happened that have directly affected veterans rather than administrative costs.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at November 11, 2005 8:50 PM
Comment #92155

I’ve not followed the budget activities with respect to veteran’s benefits closely and that’s the basic point of my original post. I’ve not paid attention to the veteran’s issues as much as I should. We may have a better chance of helping them if we all get a bit more active…

Posted by: Dennis at November 11, 2005 9:05 PM
Comment #92156

Lisa,
That is spin intended to make what they did sound good.

These two links tell the other side of the story:

Veterans Lash Out at Loss of Voice on Capitol Hill

Department of Veterans Affairs - Vets lash out at House over budget moves

Posted by: Adrienne at November 11, 2005 9:10 PM
Comment #92161

Adrienne, it doesn’t sound like spin, it actually makes more sense for them to be involved at an earlier point. Even Republicans have good ideas every now and then.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at November 11, 2005 9:18 PM
Comment #92167

Lane has no statement, if he was against it you’d think he would have made a press release.

http://veterans.house.gov/democratic/press/109th/press109th.htm

Posted by: Lisa Renee at November 11, 2005 9:43 PM
Comment #92206

Okay Lisa,
If you think its a better idea to listen to politicians, go ahead. Meanwhile, I’ll listen to what the Veterans themselves are saying.

Disabled American Veterans:
Action Alert: Representative Buyer Eliminates Joint Hearings for Veterans Service Organizations

Posted by: Adrienne at November 11, 2005 11:16 PM
Comment #92302

Dennis,

Your piece is both heartwarming and heartwrenching.

For a group who has done so much to change the world into a better place for us, to have to experience anything other than the honor, respect and reverence they deserve is abhorrent.

The plight of the veteran today must be dealt with in a humanitarian and bi-partisan way. Anyone choosing to use this opportunity to politicize the spirit of your message should reassess their positions.

When you visit the DFW National Cemetary you will be honoring your Dad’s grave site and, the final resting place for all veterans that came before and will follow.

Posted by: steve smith at November 12, 2005 11:10 AM
Comment #92349

First let me say a big THANKYOU to all veterans, and to all that are presently serving in the Military. Specially those that are in Iraq and Afganastan.
I also want to THANK the spouses of these brave men and women. The sacrifices you make being married to a member of the Military are too often over looked. Particularly if they’re career Military.
The constant moves from assignment to assignment.
The lonelyness that comes from sepration while your spouse is deployed.
Having to make ends meet on low pay.
Not being able to have a real career of your own because your never in one place long.
Seeing your children having to keep saying goodbye to friends.
These are just a few of the MANY sacrifices you’ve made to be married to a service person.
I want yall to know how much it is appreciated by at least one person out here.

Posted by: Ron Brown at November 12, 2005 3:30 PM
Comment #92544

Thank you for my Great-Uncle Frank, who served in the 101st Airborne in WW2.

Thank you for my Great-Uncle Leonard, who served under Patton in Europe in WW2.

Thank you for my Uncle, who served in the U.S.M.C. in the early ’60s.

Thank you for my dad, who served in the Air Force as a paramedic from 1948 in Germany, through Korea and in Viet Nam.

Thank you for my brother, who served in the Navy for 20 years.

Thank you for your service to this country in some of its most perilous times.

I refuse to politicize your service as the people above have done.

Posted by: Jim T at November 13, 2005 3:02 PM
Comment #92550

“I refuse to politicize your service as the people above have done.”

Thank you to my cousin Neil, who lost his arm in Vietnam like countless others who lost arms and legs, or sometimes something much less tangible, but often just as painful and debilitating, in all of America’s wars.
If it wasn’t for the shabby, ungrateful and disgraceful way Republican’s have been treating such people, I’d not have had to even mention politics in my post.

Posted by: Adrienne at November 13, 2005 4:02 PM
Comment #92763

To all americans World War II veterans:

THANK YOU.

Your frenchly,

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 14, 2005 12:50 PM
Comment #92924

Philippe,

To all the French who participated in the American Revolutionary War and gave us our freedom:

Thank you…

Posted by: Jim T at November 14, 2005 5:47 PM
Comment #93016

I want to say Thank You to all the vets. I personally , I Am very proud to be an American .I cannot imagine what it must have been like or is like . I Can only Thank the men and women who serve our country. I cannot say enough . I have had grandfathers ,father (WWII), cousin( WWII) , 2 brothers (1home from Iraq)(1 going to Iraq),Son (in Iraq) ,nephew (going to Iraq) and a niece,and an uncle (WWII) Who have served and continue to do so . I believe the men and women who serve the U.S.A. have a great patriotic Spirit . And for all those who are against the fighting .I say this to You . It is not that they want to fight but when someone attacks the United States Of America …You Better believe They are going to fight. And because of them ,we have the right, to speak out about freedom . Because of men and women who are Brave . They Know the Price of freedom. And it is never Free. So I say again My Hat is Off . I Thank You for all your time and sacrifice.I Thank God I am An American. And coming from a family who is involved into the military … It isn’t about politics . It is about protecting our families and our homes. God Bless America. If any are offended by this Thats just to bad. Do you know anyone else who is going to fight for your Freedom?

Posted by: Roxanne at November 14, 2005 10:37 PM
Comment #93017

I agree with Dennis. We all need to be involved .To make sure that Our Hero’s have what they have been promised.

Posted by: Roxanne at November 14, 2005 10:43 PM
Comment #93583
Philippe,

To all the French who participated in the American Revolutionary War and gave us our freedom:

Thank you…

Jim T, you’re welcome!
Your country had since thank France in several occasions, the most notable one during last century when you guys freed us from nazism.

Your frenchly,

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at November 17, 2005 6:25 AM
Comment #93883

Thank you, to all those who thanked veterans, which I am. It is appreciated, but too, let us not forget the millions of other Americans who serve our nation in many other ways. Many of them too stand ready to lay down their life for others. Most Fathers and Mothers stand ready for their children, law enforcement personnel and fire fighters stand ready and do lay their lives on the line for others every year. Many brothers and sisters stand ready to sacrifice for their families as do our sons and daughters in the military.

As a veteran, I wish all this thankfullness could be spread around to be shared by all Americans who do their bit by abiding our laws, paying their taxes, voting, and speaking out against injustice when and where they find it. All these acts are deserving of our thanks. Wouldn’t hurt to spread it out a big wider than just to our troops overseas, though they deserve it as much as any.

Posted by: David R. Remer at November 18, 2005 3:13 AM
Comment #94261

Dennis:

Thanks for your support, To my brothers still serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the globe, on the ground, at sea, or in the sky: I hope that this Veteran’s Day was good to you. “Please, Come Home Safely”

As Ever,
Wayne

Posted by: wayne at November 19, 2005 7:15 PM
Comment #270130

to all of those Iwish to say thank you for your bravery I have had my first husband and my second husband serve in the Koren war and I have 2 sons and 2 son-in-laws that have serve in the armed forces I wish to say thank you and God bless you and evey one wo served this wonderful country. THANK YOU &GOD BLESS

Posted by: jean at November 11, 2008 9:49 AM
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