Three ideas for celebrating Veterans Day, ways to make the day a big one

Summary: After the parades and picnics, here are three suggestions for ways to celebrate Veterans’ Day. Make it more than just another holiday.

Veterans' Day

Contents

  1. Force Congress to fully fund care for Veterans.
  2. Hire a Vet.
  3. Support our troops, active and retired.
  4. For More Information.
  5. Video: A History of Veterans’ Day.

 

War reveals a people’s true values and priorities, cutting through the facade of what we say to show what we do. But each year we have the ability to grow, forcing our actions to more closely meet our aspirations. Every holiday offers the opportunity to remind ourselves of whom we want to be. The day after every holiday gives the opportunity to do so.

Here are some suggestions for this Veterans Day, ideas for commitments you can make to your friends and family as dinnertime toasts.

Veterans Administration

(1) Force Congress to fully fund care for Veterans

“One year after outrage about long waiting lists for health care shook the Department of Veterans Affairs, the agency is facing a new crisis: The number of veterans on waiting lists of one month or more is now 50% higher than it was during the height of last year’s problems, department officials say.”
— “Wait Lists Grow as Many More Veterans Seek Care and Funding Falls Far Short“, NYT, June 2015.

There is no excuse for under-funding care for veterans. Even during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans’ care has been a problem — well reported in the news for a decade. It’s in the news again. Unless we speak out it will be in the news again next year.

Oddly, while each year brought stories about active duty and vets suffering poor medical care, our military leaders had no difficulty funding the projects they considered important, such as the malfunctioning, insanely expensive F-35. Even now the problems remain while DoD starts the gravy train for a new bomber (in turn to become insanely expensive, like its predecessors).

We were given ample advanced notice. VA execs routinely warned of the coming need for radically higher funding. Plus there were many studies supporting their forecasts, such as from 2007 — “Soldiers Returning from Iraq and Afghanistan: The Long-term Costs of Providing Veterans Medical Care and Disability Benefits” by Linda Bilmes (Harvard).

Now the inevitable bills come due, with the VA lacking the necessary infrastructure to handle the flood of wounded vets.  52,000 were wounded in action through 2014 (half the total in Korea, one third of that in Vietnam). Also, the roughly 8.7 million who served during the Vietnam War are entering their peak years needing medical care.

“In FY2000, of the 83,159 veterans who began receiving disability compensation that year, 19.8% were aged 55 or older. By FY2011, of the 272,509 veterans who began receiving disability compensation that year, 52.9% were aged 55 or older.”  {CRS, June 2012.)

This is not rocket science. It’s not like curing cancer or inventing fusion power. We can demand that Congress end this problem now. Below are links for those who would like to learn more about this. Write your Congressperson and Senators today.

Hire a Veteran

(2) Hire a veteran

Lots of men and women leaving the service now that our wars wind down and DoD’s cut its headcount. Give these men and women a helping hand by looking at the many programs matching veterans with jobs, such as Hire Veterans.

Blue Star Mothers

(3) Support our troops, active and retired

Flowers on graves are nice. Donations or volunteering more effectively show your support for our troops Here are three organizations that provide valuable support to our troops.USO

  1. Support the Blue Star Mothers of America
  2. Support the USO
  3. Volunteer at the Veterans Administration

(4)  For More Information

(a)  The history of underfunding Veterans’ care (it didn’t just happen)…

(b)  If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Also see these posts…

(5)  Video: A History of Veterans’ Day

The History Channel page about the History of Veterans’ Day.