Memorial Day stirs a veteran’s memories

Published: Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 12:09 PM.

I was 22 years old. I had done everything I was asked to do for my country. I had seen horrific things that would remain with me for a lifetime, but I had done nothing to be so reviled. Why had my country turned on me? 

I can’t tell you why, but I exchanged my ticket and went to Denver instead of heading home. It took me two weeks to go home. I later discovered that a lot of guys did similar things. Some never went home. Then there are those who came back but are still gone.

I often wonder if those people who met all those returning planes tell their children and friends what they actually did to protest that unjust war. Perhaps they have since joined that religious group that protests at the funerals of the dead boys coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan. Maybe they became politicians and went to Congress.

This Memorial Day, the news is full of the problems at the veterans’ hospitals. Our politicians are pointing fingers, threatening hearings, investigations, all fighting for press time so they can “say” what needs to be done. The Congress is drawing sides, salivating at the opportunity afforded just before mid-term elections. All this energy, time and money being spewed forth, all for one purpose: How does it translate into votes? 

This should sound familiar. Our politicians want to divide us so they can point to the “others” as being different and wrong-minded, when they ask for our donations. With enough money they can fight those on the other side of the aisle. 

Listen to them. Democrat or Republican, deep down we know they just want money. It reminds me of that big radio station down in Del Rio, Texas back in the ‘60s. Remember the one that asked for your donation, and in return they would send you a “genuine autographed picture of Jesus Christ?” Their promise may strike an emotional chord with you, but deep down you know what they want.

If we want the answer to the VA mess we really don’t have to pay some bloviator congressman $180,000 a year for the answer. Simply, we know how to fix the problem. We do it every day by honoring our own commitments in our daily lives. Congress should do the same. They should honor the commitment they made to America’s military when they sent us to war by simply paying the bill, no matter the amount. We paid with our blood, no matter the amount.

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