Saturday, January 21, 2017

"As a nation we say we love you" to Veterans, But Will We Prove It?

Will We Prove We Love Our Veterans?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 21, 2017

When I got into all of this, President Reagan had been in office a year. Then it was President Bush, followed by President Clinton, followed by President Bush, President Obama and now, President Trump. Every single one of them has promised to honor the devotion and dedication of all those who served in the military, and they failed, and now it seems as if President Trump is about to fail them again. With his desire to privatize their care, sending veterans away from the care they were promised. Instead of demanding Congress finally accepts the profound responsibility and do whatever it takes to fix what they have failed to do since 1946.

As with most things, if you think something is suddenly wrong because you are suddenly paying attention to it, here is just an example.

After the passage of the Veterans Health Care Amendments Act of 1979, the VA set up a network of Vet Centers across the country, separate from other VA facilities. In response to their special needs, the Vet Centers at first were limited to Vietnam veterans. 

This is from President Reagan's speech at the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

But -- But -- But beyond that, we remember today that all our gentle heroes of Vietnam have given us a lesson in something more: a lesson in living love. Yes, for all of them, those who came back and those who did not, their love for their families lives. Their love for their buddies on the battlefields and friends back home lives. Their love of their country lives.

This memorial has become a monument to that living love. The thousands who come to see the names testify to a love that endures. The messages and mementos they leave speak with a whispering voice that passes gently through the surrounding trees and to out across the breast of our peaceful nation: a childhood teddy bear, a photograph of the son or daughter born too late to know his or her father, a battle ribbon, a note -- there are so many of these, and all are testimony to our living love for them. And our nation itself is testimony to the love our veterans have had for it and for us. Our liberties, our values, all for which America stands is safe today because brave men and women have been ready to face the fire at freedom's front. And we thank God for them.

Yes, gentle heroes and living love and our memories of a time when we faced great divisions here at home. And yet if this place recalls all this, both sweet and sad, it also reminds us of a great and profound truth about our nation: that from all our divisions we have always eventually emerged strengthened. Perhaps we are finding that new strength today, and if so, much of it comes from the forgiveness and healing love that our Vietnam veterans have shown.

"As a nation we say we love you." said President Reagan, but as a nation, we had not lived up to caring for those who carried the wounds of war on their backs and in their souls. 

"As a nation we say we love you" to our veterans and are eternally grateful for your service that should never end because it is just too hard to do.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs was turned into a Cabinet Position by President Reagan.

President Reagan signed legislation in 1988 to elevate VA to Cabinet status and, on March 15, 1989, the Veterans Administration became the Department of Veterans Affairs. Edward J. Derwinski, VA administrator at the time, was appointed the first Secretary of Veterans Affairs. 
Yet jurisdiction was placed in the hands of Congress in 1946, but they have managed to blame the Secretary of the VA ever since.. 

This is from the GAO in 2002

We are pleased to be here today to discuss the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) progress in reducing veterans' waiting times for decisions on their disability compensation and pension claims. VA expects to provide about $25 billion in compensation and pension benefits in fiscal year 2002 to over 3 million veterans and their dependents and survivors. For years, the compensation and pension claims process has been the subject of concern and attention within VA and by the Congress and veterans service organizations. Many of their concerns have focused on the long waits for decisions and large claims backlogs, both of which have negatively affected the quality of service provided to veterans. The Secretary of Veterans Affairs has made improving compensation and pension claims processing performance one of VA's top management priorities. The Secretary's end of fiscal year 2003 goal is to complete accurate decisions on rating-related claims in an average of 100 days. To achieve this goal, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) is focusing on increasing production of rating decisions and reducing the inventory of claims to about 250,000. As of the end of March 2002, VBA was completing claims in an average of 224 days and had an inventory of about 412,000 claims.

So, here we are all these Presidents later and President Trump is now about to send veterans into the private healthcare nightmare. I never thought I'd see a time in this country when our obligation to our veterans ended because it was easier for us to just forget they are not civilians and should be provided with the best care this NATION, can give them. Giving up was not an option for them in combat and it should never be an option because it is hard for politicians to deliver to them.

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