A better way to celebrate Veterans Day. Make it count!

Summary: After the parades and picnics, here are suggestions for ways to celebrate Veterans’ Day. Make it more than just another holiday. Make it the start of a new and better America.

Veterans' Day

Contents

  1. But first, why Veteran’s Day?
  2. Force Congress to fully fund care for Veterans.
  3. Hire a Vet.
  4. Support our troops, active and retired.
  5. For More Information.
  6. 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. 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.

(1) But first, why Veterans’ Day?

Veterans’ Day originally celebrated the service and sacrifices in WWI (details here). Started by miscalculations by leaders on all sides. Waged due to their unwillingness to admit mistakes, supported with lies to justify their continuing folly. It was four years of incompetence: “Lions led by donkeys.

WWI ended one century ago today. It holds special poignancy for us, as we’re in another such war. The War on Terror is a bizarre name (“terror” is a tactic, not a foe). Fought without a plan, it is a series of failures from which we learn nothing, fought against an every-changing roster of foes, with no end visible. It is a mad forever war, like our War on Drugs.

We ask our men and women in uniform to fight for us. The right or wrong of the conflicts – the responsibility for them – lies on us, the citizens at home who elect our leaders, not on those who carry out our orders. On this day we celebrate their service, without which the Republic would not have survived.

Veterans Administration

(2) Shake up Congress!

Force them to adequately fund health care for veterans and active duty troops.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are the longest sustained U.S. military operations in history, with roughly 4 million U.S. service people served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now Republicans seek to mine the Veterans Affairs budget to save money (got to pay for those tax cuts for the rich!) and shift government funds to private profits.

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.

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: 53,000 were wounded in action through August 2018 (half the total in Korea, one third of that in Vietnam). And tens of thousands more wounded from other causes. Also, the roughly 8.7 million who served during the Vietnam War are entering their peak years needing medical care.

While each year brings news 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). Many articles have discussed these problems. Too bad we are not listening.

To mention at just one area of care, see the conclusions of “Evaluation of the Department of Veterans Affairs Mental Health Services” by the National Academies.

“There is a substantial unmet need for mental health services in the OEF/OIF/OND population as identified using standard screeners of mental health conditions or veteran-reported diagnoses. … These results are consistent with several other studies of VA mental health care and demonstrate that a large proportion of veterans do not receive any treatment following diagnosis of PTSD, SUDs, or depression. …Problems with adequate staffing, physical infrastructure, and providing timely care appear to contribute to the variability in the VA’s delivery of evidence-based mental health services.”

This is not rocket science. It’s not like curing cancer or inventing fusion power. We can demand that Congress end this problem now. Write your Congressperson and Senators today.

Learn more about the history of under-funding Veterans’ care (it didn’t just happen).

Hire a Veteran

(3) 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

(4) Support our troops, active and retired

Putting flowers on graves is nice. Support the living! Here are three organizations that provide valuable support to our troops.  Donations or volunteering show your support!USO

Support the Blue Star Mothers of America.

Support the USO.

Volunteer at the Veterans Administration.

Voluntary Service at the Department of Veterans Affairs

(5)  For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas see my recommended books and films at Amazon.

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(6)  A video history of Veterans’ Day

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

3 thoughts on “A better way to celebrate Veterans Day. Make it count!

  1. This is the day i think of my cousin. He stayed in France after WW2. They couldn’t find a body to send home. Listed as MIA/KIA.

    To our veterans. They deserve better than they get.

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