Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day.  For most of us, it's just a day off work, but for many it is a time for remembrance for days gone by.  Both my mom and my dad were veterans, Mom in the Navy and Dad in the Army in WW II.  Dad served overseas, mostly in Africa , as a truck driver in the quartermaster corps; Mom was in D.C. as a pharmacy mate.  They met after the war, and were married more than 55 years when Mom passed. I don't remember Dad saying much about his service, until he was in his 70s, when he started to try to get in contact with his old buddies, who were long since beyond reach.  But what I remember was the ungodly mess it was for them to get help at the local Veteran's Hospital.  It was always some papertrail that had gone awry.  Dad's service records were among those lost in the  fire at St. Louis.  Wikipedia "The National Personnel Records Center fire of 1973, also referred to as the 1973 National Archives fire was a fire that occurred at the United States National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in Overland, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis, on July 12, 1973, striking a severe blow to the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States. NPRC, the custodian of military service records, lost approximately 16-18 million official military personnel records as a result of the fire.

That was a large part of the problems for him to get care at the VA, since he had no proof other than a Purple Heart, to show he had a service-related injury.  The burden of proof was on him, a virtual impossibility after so long.

So when I read about the horrible care that today's veterans are getting from the VA system, I have an inkling of what they are going through.  And it is a disgrace and a national shame that the veterans are treated this way, whether their injuries are life-altering or not.

So today, think a little while about what would have been the result if those men and women had not risked their lives and their well-being to do their duty to our country.  And while you think about that, consider supporting some of the organizations like Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Wounded Warrior Project, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  Every little donation helps.  It's the least we can do.

Bumper sticker for the day:  "It was a sad and disappointing day when I discovered my universal remote control did not, in fact, control the universe (not even remotely).

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