say what you want about the war in iraq. say what you want about mr. bush and his war. i certainly do, and have mixed feelings about some of it. say what you want about the military in general, but there is no excuse to not give respect to the men and women who have served. many of us chose the military as a way to survive. a paycheck, a way to take care of our families. everyone has their own reason. sometimes there are great opportunities and incredible training and skills you can take w/ you. it is not the best way all the time, and i will say that the military is in desperate need of rehab in several areas. “don’t ask don’t tell” pisses me off. military medicine, while giving coverage to everyone involved, leaves a lot to be desired (b/c it is competing w/ private insurance, and it pays less money…this should not be…private = bad here). we make far less money than our civilian counterparts doing the same jobs, and are looked at by a lot of the public unfavorably. probably the biggest atrocity i can think of is the way we treat our veterans.
a shocking (to me…maybe i am not up w/ news) article on bbc really got my panties in a ruffle today. approximately one in four homeless people are veterans. i find this unacceptable for several reasons. the military breeds its troops to be completely dependent on them. your needs are taken care of, for the most part. it is a universal system protecting a country that hates universal systems. it shows. a good deal of veterans joined the military at a young age, some right out of high school, and not even old enough to vote. (i have one friend who joined the navy at 17, the day she turned 17.) they do a few years’ service, and at then end are set loose. some of them adapt to the ‘outside’ world, many it seems do not. going through the separation process right now i can see first hand how this happens. they do a piss poor job of getting people who have never rented their own home or paid their own bills or applied for civilian jobs ready to reemerge. it’s sad and it is apparently having some really shitty snap back. (you don’t know this maybe, but i just made a military pun.) being homeless has a way of hurting your ability to improve your situation. you are prone to illness, at risk all the time, and can’t even, in most cases, get a job. a majority of employers will not hire you w/o a physical address.
lucky for me, my separation will find me in a good situation. i hurt for my brother and sister service members who will not be as lucky as me. i wish this military happy government of ours would focus a little more attention on its displaced veterans. the VA does a lot, but it isn’t enough. we need to find a way to take care of those who have taken care of us.
i leave you with this poem i found on the medal of honor home page in honor of veteran’s day this monday:
“ It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN, not the courts
who has given us the right to keep and bear arms
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN, not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the VETERAN, who salutes the Flag,
and serves under the flag.”