Thursday, September 22, 2011

On Being a Veteran

   I am a veteran of the US Coast Guard. I served for four years, from 1967 to 1971.

   One time when coming back to my duty station from leave, a dirty little Hippie Chick threw a cup full of urine on me and called me a "Baby Killer" at the Oakland, California airport. She was arrested. Still, of all the good times and great duty stations I enjoyed, unfortunately, that memory is the one I'll always remember.

   The veterans of World War II and the Korean War have been dubbed the "Greatest Generation". A very well deserved title, in my opinion.

   Apparently I was a member of the "Baby Killer" generation. In fact the only baby I had contact with was one I helped deliver on a disabled sailboat in San Francisco Bay. He was fine the last I saw of him. He'd be about 41 now. Maybe it was you. Ask your mom.

   The young men and women serving in the armed forces today are called Heroes. They are Heroes and they deserve the recognition. The fact is, I have mixed feelings about the way they are treated. They deserve the attention but I'm jealous. I wish that instead of a cuppa urine, I had received a hug or a 'thank you'.

   Now for something that really upsets me. It's this: Non-Profit organizations that help vets and their families such as the Wounded Warrior Project, or the Jericho Project or Hire Heroes USA. Don't get me wrong. It doesn't upset me that these organizations and others like them exist. It upsets me that they are NEEDED!

   This country and it's leaders should be ashamed of themselves that these young men and women who have served and because of that service are in need of medical, financial and housing assistance have to rely on "The Kindness of Strangers" as Blanche DuBois sweetly put it. It's sad, but there it is.

   These vets handed their country a blank check, payable for up to and including their lives for the next four or two or six years. How many corporate executives or teenage dishwashers would tell their boss that they'd work for the next four years and if it became necessary, they'd give their lives for the employer? That's what these kids do and are doing every day.

   Many Vets are having to foot the bill for their own medical expenses for injuries received while in the service of their country. Why? Why do we have Vets who are homeless or out of work? Shameless!

   I've been very fortunate to have found gainful employment following my service. I have made a good living. I own my home and for the most part, I'm out of debt. Our country puts these kids in harm's way and in too many instances, turns it's back on them when they need help the most. It's a pretty one-sided arrangement, if you ask me.

   Addition - 9/23/11: Last night I watched the Letterman show. He interviewed USMC Sgt. Dakota Meyer who was just awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His recuiter told him that he "didn't have what it takes to become a Marine". The Sgt saved the lives of 39 US and Afghani soldiers. The country needs more kids like Dakota Meyer.

Take it from The Geezer: The Government should stop paying $16 for a muffin and $10 for a cookie and put the money saved toward helping our Vets in need!

http://www.jerichoproject.org/
http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/
http://www.hireheroesusa.org/

4 comments:

  1. Amen. I was turned down a job once when the employer saw that I was a woman veteran - his response was "I don't want any of those kind working for me" - not sure what he meant, I have my ideas. But I would have loved to smack him upside the head...instead I accepted his sexist biggotry with grace and dignity.

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  2. I watched the video of the David Letterman show, and have to say I was impressed that his work ethics took precedence over setting time schedules for meeting with higher ups. He's a totally dedicated young man. As a woman veteran myself, my problem with employers was the questions "what does your husband do", as if HE was applying for the position. I politely told one prospective employer that my husband was NOT applying for the job, and if they were considering HIS qualifications, then I didn't need to work for THEM!

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  3. I agree that the vets shouldn't have to rely on volunteer orgs for what he govt. should have covered.

    It's a sad thing to see a homeless Vet. We should be a better country than that.

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  4. its a sad state when people in general have to rely on the assistance programs for housing or medical care. I work full time and do not have insurance and can not afford it on my own.

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I'd be interested to hear your comments. Thanks for reading The Geezer Guide!