****My progressive friends over at Momocrats recently posted a piece about caring for our veterans. I started to comment, but the comment would up being so long, I figured I would make a post out if it, myself. When you finish this, please go give them a read.****
Historically, our country hasn't given a rat's ass about it's veterans.
Here is a little story about how much our government cares.
I left the Marine Corps in 1989, after eight years of service. Just before the date of my Honorable Discharge from the service, the 2nd Marine Division herded (yes, herded) all of us who were out-processing, into a large auditorium... our pre-discharge paperwork was all neatly arranged and mostly filled out. We were instructed to fill out specific things like forwarding addresses for mail... and in case Uncle Sam required our services again (whether we liked it or not).
We were almost done when one of the Warrant Officers in charge of the briefing said "How many of you have service-related injuries?" A loud laugh went up and so did our hands. This briefing was for Marines who were all coming out of the combat regiments in the Division... all of us had hurt either our shoulders, backs, knees, ankles, feet, hearing loss (artillery and Machine-guns will do that for you!), and other injuries that a modern Infantryman, Artilleryman, or Tank crewman often suffer.
Seeing this, the officer told us to fill out THE YELLOW FORM (I think it was yellow) so we could all be placed on medical hold... for 6 months to two years. All the hands went down.
Do you know why?
Because no one had bothered to tell us about this.
I think they got the precise reaction that they wanted... they wanted us to just go home without treatment. It was easier... and cheaper. These men had jobs waiting... and wives & children waiting... they had their lives waiting for them. Lives they (we) had put on hold to serve our country. So what did we do? We left. We took our discharges and got on with our lives. Little did we realize that we wouldn't be young forever. We didn't realize that some day we'd be forty... and fifty. We didn't know that those irritating pains we suffered in our youth would be debilitating before we were old.
They don't call it the Infantry for nothing, you know. We were all teenagers when we
drank the Kool-Aid enlisted. We had our youth, we were invincible... who knew that our country wouldn't, despite the "support-the-troops" bullshit rhetoric, give a damn about our health in the future?
As much as I honor my service, and as much pride as I have at having been part of the biggest, baddest fraternity ever created in this country, I am somewhat embittered about the treatment we received. I am reminded daily when I get out of bed and my ankles pop, then my knees, and then my back, and then when my shoulder can only do certain things.
The truth is that governments only give a shit about soldiers when there is a war on... and they only care then, if you are healthy enough to get back into the fight if you were wounded... If not, it's F*** You, and the armored vehicle you rode in on... unless, of course, you were in the Infantry, like me, in which case you arrived on foot, carrying over a hundred pounds worth of weapons, gear, and ammunition.