Thursday, May 28, 2015

Patriotism and Pretence on Memorial Day

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 28, 2015

This weekend was one event after another. I told coworkers it was good to be back at work so that I could get some rest with the usual chaos.

I love covering the events and sharing what the press hardly ever shows.
This is from the Lake Nona VA Hospital Dedication.  As you can see, these cameramen blocked the view of the veterans behind them,
but what makes it worse is, none of them showed the whole event and few put anything on air at all.

I have a unique view of crowds behind the camera. I watch their faces, listen to the folks in the crowd almost more than I listen to the speakers. While the news crews were in the way, I was off to the side, standing in the sun in over 90 degree heat, so that I could see the speakers as well as the veterans. After all it was the dedication of their hospital.

We left early due to other appointments plus, I really didn't want to hear the same thing out of the politicians I've been hearing for years.

There is a vast difference between a politician speaking, reading words but clearly lacking the experience behind the words. They stumble over words that should come flowing out while they choke back words to appear to be emotional. Usually these stunts are followed by screwing up something important like a name or an important event in our history.

They read the words and some, if they are good and practiced enough, they glantz at the words written for them but if you pay close attention, it is easy to tell they don't have a clue what the words really mean to members in the crowd.

Then there are the veterans. When they speak, it is from their hearts filled with the experiences behind the words. Sometimes when they stop, choke back, then carry on, you can see it in their eyes and the change in their tone how much those words truly meant to them.

If you took the same speech about fallen servicemembers and had a politician read it right after a veteran did, you'd booo because the difference is that obvious.

I heard a Vietnam veteran talk about not leaving another generation of veterans behind and how they fight for all veterans to make sure they don't ever have to experience what they were put through. Then I heard politicians at another event talk about how they value veterans and want to make sure they are taken care of, but the words were just words. No emotion. No understanding of what it is like to be a veteran, disabled by risking his/her life because some politicians decided they needed to go but never planned for when these veterans returned.

The Lake Nona VA took about 10 years to get to the point where they started taking appointments and even now they are limited. It is supposed to be fully operational by the end of the year. Think about that for a second. All those years and all we heard out of members of Congress is it is all the VA's fault. After all, why would they want to remind anyone that they are responsible for this and everything else the VA does or does not do?
Jeff Miller
U.S. House of Representatives
United States Representative Jeff Miller serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs. The Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is responsible for authorization and oversight of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA.) VA is the second largest department in the federal government with over 300,000 employees and a budget of over $150 billion.

Congressman Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee has been on that committee since 2001. That is proudly stated on his website.
After taking the oath of office in 2001, Congressman Miller was appointed to the House Armed Services Committee and the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. He quickly established himself within Washington as a strong advocate for veterans' concerns and immediately supported changes to concurrent receipt and policy changes such as a greater co-sharing between the military and veterans' clinics.

Is this all his fault? No, but like all those before him, they simply don't feel the words they say and none of them have ever accepted responsibility for what they left behind. Mainly, veterans in line waiting for the care they were promised time and time again, years after more years. Most of the talking has been during election years.

The groundbreaking for the VA Hospital was in 2008 and every politician showed up to take credit for it even though building it wasn't scheduled to begin until 2010.  Every politician on that stage was involved in this in one way or another, but as with everything else, they seem to forget it was their job to make sure happened.

When politicians gave their speeches at the other events, their words painfully came out to the point where folks stopped listening hoping they'd finish. When veterans spoke the pain came from living what the words meant and folks hoped they'd be able to finish their speech without breaking down.

Hands wiped away tears for them yet when politicians spoke, hands wiped away sweat because the difference between the pretence of patriotism and true patriots was obvious.

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