Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Be all you can be

War is hell—at least what I’m told, in books and Hollywood films. I’m one of the lucky ones in that I’ve never had to face combat. While I’ve offered my opinions about war and how I’m personally opposed to all the horrors that accompany it, once again, I’ve viewed them from safety.

Most of the men I’ve known who’ve faced battle, whether during WWII, Korea, Vietnam and now, Gulf Wars I & II, are reticent to talk about it. It’s something that they did and most prefer to leave it at that. I can respect that.

This morning, while readying to head out the door to go to work, I caught a strange story on NPR’s Morning Edition. Ari Shapiro’s feature highlighted the Army’s attempts at preventing disabled American veterans from receiving help from the Department of Veterans Affairs, with their disability paperwork. I thought, why would the U.S. Army not want to make sure that men that wore the uniform and were injured in battle, receive the proper follow-up for their injuries?

It was sad to hear a former soldier say that his treatment made him feel like “a worn-out pair of boots.” Disabled from injuries received serving his country and honoring its flag, this ex-GI was forced to speak on the condition of anonymity, because he “feared retaliation.” You can read the full story here.

I’m glad I’ve never had to serve my country, as there’s no telling what I might be going through, if like the men in this story, I had suffered serious injuries and needed my country to take care of me.

So, if you wonder why I'm a bit tired of all the flag-waving and chest-thumping about our troops, this story will clue you in. If you really want to support the troops, support the fair treatment of them after they've been shot at, blown up by roadside bombs and left to wonder where all the crowds that saw them off to battle, went.

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