This has proven to be a very hard time for active military as well as our veterans. I am a veteran myself as you know and I have family and friends both active military and veteran. I have worked with veterans for more than 40 years and have never seen anything as heart wrenching as the happenings of late. The world is placing our military in a very shameful state. Our men and women in uniform have always walked tall with pride representing the world’s elite enforcers of justice and freedom.
Many of you with veterans at home know the pain and anguish that our veterans are going through. Almost every visit to Togus VA has, as a part of its screening, the question, “do you have feeling of harming yourself”? Non-veterans don’t realize how sensitive Americas finest are. The pride and love that went into adorning one’s self with the American uniform is second only to God and family.
Everyone has been advised to be on potential suicide watch. Men and women who gave their all protecting this country are very fragile as time leaves them behind. Those who never served or who don’t have someone close who did don’t see what’s happening to our country through similar eyes. Now is a very conflicting time for our military and veteran populations. Now is your time to support these people from your heart. Thanking them for their service is a very respectful thing to do but sometimes it might require more. A gentle touch, an understanding ear can make a lot of difference in helping those who gave their youth for the sake of our country.
There are those who turn their back on our flag and take a knee in protest. Those people obviously don’t care how the peace keepers feel or see the price that was paid by hundreds of thousands who gave it all for them. Respect isn’t in their vocabulary. Most of us feel it is shameful the way things have been lately. Do we deserve our freedom or should Mandarin be considered in the school curriculum? If you ask a veteran, he or she will tell you that things are about to get really bad. How can you be convinced that you won’t like being under the rule of another country, especially Marxist or communist regimes? Look at other countries that are ruled under Socialistic, Communistic governments. Some of us have been in such countries where they can shoot you, your family, take your children and/or your women. I believe some of you haven’t thought this through. Do you want a government who counts your children?
I pray for America each night after watching the horrors on the news channels. It’s bad and it’s real my friends. You can see it for yourself. My heart goes out to those living it. I can hear their fear and despair as I try to fall asleep. I must watch to be informed but for you I recommend cartoons.
During this nightmare the VA hasn’t been much help as they try to pull a switch on the vets. Covid shutdown has allowed them to keep vets away; then came construction to elongate the distancing. At this time the vets noticed security being implemented to further distance them from a place they think of as a safe sanctuary for them. It was a clever way to place Togus on lockdown, the security stations became permanent. More and more veterans are being farmed out but that will only be for a short time, I believe, as the cost is far too great. We have new buildings, sidewalks, roads and a new Community Living Center being built. However, it has been several years since new operating theatres for orthopedics and general surgery and also the need for EMG equipment, which has been broken for years, goes without notice, yet a new neurologist was hired, as well as a nurse practitioner to work with diabetic patients. Eventually they all have to be referred out. These are things which are never addressed by D.C..
The best gym with a pool for both emotional and physical therapy remains shutdown mostly for “lack of a life guard”. However, we are starting to look good. Last but not least the records section has become difficult to access because of staffing, shortages. Perhaps that’s not important with all Veteran Services’ doors being shut. Be mindful of what’s happening and do your best to be part of the solution, not the cause.
God bless our troops and watch over our vulnerable veterans.
The views of the author are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.
Gary Kennedy can be reached at 458-2832.