Last night I watched yet another television ad by Wounded Warriors. The screen was filled with heartbreaking video of men and women in a variety of debilitating situations – lost limbs, in wheelchairs, hooked up with tubes in hospital beds. There also was a smattering of pictures of their families and other veterans handicapped because of their war experience. It broke my heart – as it always does. And, yes, I have contributed to Wounded Warriors as well as other groups who work towards rehabilitation, recovery and continued lifelong support of our noble service men and women who have given so much for this country.
After my sadness, however, I felt rage. Rage that, as an American tax-paying citizen I am being begged for help by the bravest Americans. Why? Why do they need to look to the public for help, for financial support, for anything? Why is it necessary to have so many groups dedicated to assisting our wounded service people? Where have all our taxes gone, if not to help them when they return from wars we send them to? Where is our government in all of this?
Our government is Johnny-on-the-spot when it comes to deploying troops to trouble spots around the world to face the horrors of war and imminent danger of injury or death. Our elected officials pay lip service to them but, after the job is done, where is the concern, the help? “Thank you for your service,” only goes so far. To thank them, we should be providing the medical, rehabilitation, and family support required. Perhaps retraining is needed so they can regain a productive life. Yes. Educational support too. But, over and over, our Congress denies the monies needed. And I won’t even get into the abomination that is our Veterans Affairs. Former service persons waiting months, years, even dying before getting to see a VA doctor? Why has that not been fixed decades ago????
We should hang our heads in shame that our injured service people need to have private foundations go out and recruit money from fellow countrymen in order to provide what our government refuses to give. It is an outrage. And bitterly sad.