An ungrateful government gives veterans little respect

© 2014 Michael Swickard, Ph.D. “You haven’t an arm, you haven’t a leg, you’re an armless, boneless, chickenless egg. You’ll have to be put with a bowl out to beg. Oh Johnny I hardly knew ya.” 19th century Irish anti-war song 
      The flower of our youth march off to war carrying the honor of our nation into battle. Some come back only to be buried; others come back with the ravages of war still upon them. Then tragically over the years the grateful nation that sent them into war with the bands playing becomes an ungrateful nation because of the cost of dealing with those war injuries.
     I was thinking about this because the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs has announced thirty years later than they should have that a clinic is opening in Las Cruces to allow the large population of veterans in the area easier access to services.
     Several veterans spoke last week with guarded optimism about this development. They have every right to be guarded in their optimism about what the Department of Veterans Affairs is going to do for them. Many have spent years not being treated with respect by an ungrateful nation despite their service to our country.
     Politicians who did not ever serve in the military themselves are fond of saying, “Thanks for your service.” But do they mean it? Less than twenty percent of the current Congress served in the military. Recently I quoted in another column the saying, “A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds.”
     That is what I think of our current crop of politicians locally, statewide and nationally. Most, not all, spout their support for the military and veterans but then vote otherwise. They try to get the vote of veterans without actually supporting them. Read full column