Disrespecting Our Veterans

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I just saw a presentation tonight by Diane Sawyer ABC News about our veterans and what we are doing/not doing for them, nationally; locally, how we are forsaking them and discounting their worth, and ultimately how we are treating them. It’s not much less than a war crime.

I might add that I was privileged to view our Armed Forces Day Parade last week and attend the luncheon where so many ‘war heroes’ congregated in one place.  It was quite the event.

My dad is a veteran of WWII.  I love him dearly, and he lives with me and has lived with me for the last six years.  He will be 92 years old next month the day after Father’s Day.  I marvel at his WWII stories of his days in the Army Air Corps where they maneuvered and trained with props; broomsticks instead of rifles according to him, flying in B-17s with nervous, young boys hardly wet behind the ears nearly shooting the propellers off their own planes because they would freeze with fright; where on the ground outfits placed huge logs resembling cannons poking out from the forest to outwit and fool the enemy; where they trained in civilian clothes because they didn’t have, and went through training maneuvers in this manner with the new troops. It’s a wonder I am here at all. And I know these stories are true because he has told them so many times, and without one single change or altering, always consistent in the details.

I hate and I shudder at the thought of what he might have had to deal with if myself or my sister could not have taken care of him and my mom in their twilight years.  I can’t even imagine my dad having to go through the daily motions of what some of our veterans have had to endure.  He and mom, God rest her soul, are the lucky ones.  They had/have us.  Not every veteran, as witnessed daily by our streets downtown, where you can see the men and women in their wheel chairs around Miller Plaza and Patten Towers, trying to maneuver our streets, are as lucky as my parents. Who are their advocates?  Who is watching out for them?  Understood, not all of these folks are veterans, but they still deserve the same humane treatment.

It is time for this bountiful and proud city to step up for our veterans and ensure them a quality of life that they so deserve.  We should be so embarrassed that our ‘visitors’ from outside the city should be witness to this disrespect of our hometown heroes. What’s wrong with this picture?

In a city that has so much going for it, how can we allow this disrespect/degradation to happen?    Why aren’t we/the city, taking these folks under our wings and treating them with the dignity and respect they are so deserving of? 

I, therefore, applaud, and will hold our mayor accountable for what he has acclaimed he will do, that is, to get every veteran safe and off of our streets, out of garages, and into a ‘safe harbor’ so that they can enjoy a lifestyle befitting of them for their commitment and honor and service to our country.

Donna Horn

East Brainerd Citizen

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