Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11th

In all of the hoopla about the date of 11.11.11, movie releases, game releases, all kinds of "events" I hope we don't forget that veterans are the reason there is a USA for all of this to happen.

Back in the 70s I worked at the V.A.Hospital in San Francisco. The veterans there were mostly from WWII and Korean War and a high percentage of them were indigent and lived at no fixed address, and many were alcoholics. On top of all that, the ones my boss saw were diabetic. They would show up at an early time and get their fasting blood glucose done; then they would get a voucher for a meal at the cafeteria, eat, then come back for their doctor visit. For some of them, it was a chance to get a good hot meal, free, and a visit to a doctor who would treat them as a responsible person. Anyway, what I remember is that they were an amiable lot, and they told me jokes while I worked. Because they were living rough, they couldn't take care of themselves as a diabetic, even simple things like wearing a well-fitting shoe was beyond their reach, and so they got blisters and they got infected, and could and sometimes did turn to gangrene. Some of them had amputations as a result. The irony is that they came home from the war all in one piece, only to lose a leg to an infected foot blister.

Anyway they are mostly all dead by now, as is my then-boss, and the new patients are from Vietnam and the Gulf War, mostly. Time has a way of erasing while writing the same again. The faces change, but the wounded veterans are much the same.

So on Veterans Day, say thank you, and send some money, if you can afford it, to the DAV (Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati OH 46250, or to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (7 Mill Road, Wilton, NH 03086, It will mean a lot to the heroes who served.

Thought for the day: "Supporting the Fighters, Admiring the Survivors, Honoring the Taken, And never giving up"

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