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Thursday, 12 November 2015 10:47

Yesterday Was Veteran's Day and I Feel Compelled to Write about What This Means to Me

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I am a Viet Nam era veteran. I was not drafted; I enlisted to serve because I believed in my country despite the roar of anti-war protesters that were heard throughout the US during the turbulent times we were engaged in SE Asia.

I saw a post recently that made a comparison between serving in the military and writing a blank check. The idea was that when a person joined to serve in our armed forces they were giving the country a check that could be cashed for any amount up to and including the soldiers life. This is a commitment that cannot be denied nor demeaned.

While most people I know appreciate our veterans, there are those who do not; people who like to sit in the safety net created by those veterans and call our country names. Most of those types have never given anything of themselves to any worthy cause or they’d know better. While an uneducated or narrow-minded ideologue can be excused a national policy cannot.

It makes me sick to see how badly veterans are treated by the very government they were willing to risk their lives to serve. At a time when we debate whether an illegal alien should be given access to public health care scores of veterans find it almost impossible to get timely, proper medical attention.

Despite the fact that I carry a Veterans’ Medical card, I have been paying for private health insurance through AETNA for over 14 years. My current premium for a single male, age 59 with no health issues and no preexisting conditions is $635 per month. It is also worth noting that these premiums have been rapidly going up since the advent of Obama’s health care plan; popularly known as Obamacare.

Why, you might ask, would I pay such a high amount when I am eligible for VA health care? The answer is easy: VA health care is not good and even getting an appointment can be difficult. It is easier for an illegal immigrant to get free health care than it is for a veteran. They just go to the emergency room and stiff the system. Ask any hospital administrator is this is not true. If I did the same, the hospital would get a judgment and seize my home or car or both.

This is one issue that truly bothers me and it should bother all of us. How do we look someone in the eye and tell them they can’t get the help we promised after they have paid the price?

Another issue that needs to be highlighted is the current lack of respect from a sizable segment of the US population; primarily the very young and the recently arrived to our nation. To see a Mexican flag flying in the front yards of people in Los Angeles (and they are quite a few) without a corresponding American flag flying over it, speaks volumes about modern notions of American pride.
To many, our flag seems to be an archaic symbol of a country they made no contribution to create. Don’t get me wrong here, I have nothing but the most profound respect for ANYONE, Hispanic, Black, White, Asian, Native American or otherwise who served and there are numerous examples in all these groups. But there are also those who do not respect the veterans who died to protect their freedoms.
When I read or see protests about white privilege or black laziness, I reflect on the long rows of graves filled with the valorous men and women from both these races who died so these unappreciative “protesters” can raise their voices and be heard.

I also remember the line delivered by Morgan Freeman in the civil war movie “Glory” when he addresses a disrespectful Denzel Washington who insults the white soldiers around him in the middle of the movie. “These are men who have been dying by the thousands for your freedom, I know because I’ve dug the graves.”

Later in the movie, under fire and fighting for his own freedom, the character portrayed by Denzel discovers that particular sense of pride that only comes from putting your life on the line and standing up for the beliefs and principles so many died for in that horrible War Between the States.

With all my heart I hope those who lack respect for our Veterans come to make that same discovery.

It is with great pride that I say – I am an American who served my country. To all who did the same, I salute your service and hope that one day my fellow countrymen will grow to appreciate what it was you risked so others could be safe.

Here’s a suggestion; visit a VA long-care hospital – The price of freedom is visible there!

Carl Conley

Read 1445 times Last modified on Thursday, 12 November 2015 11:02

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