Americans, before we were "really" Americans, took care of our Veterans. I can trace "Veteran Benefits" all the way back to 1636, in Plymouth Colony. The folks there declared that any soldier who received a disabling injury while defending the colony would be taken care of by the colony for life. Next, in 1780, the Continental Congress promised officers more pay for seven years and bonuses (a whopping $80.00) to enlistees for sticking it out to the end of the Revolutionary War. The Continental Congress offered pensions for those who became disabled as a result of the war. During these times, deeds to land were promised to Soldiers in exchange for their military service. The initial concepts of Veterans benefits are timeless to the intent of American gratitude for military service.
Fast forward the years to our present time. I can just hear the unfortunate "griping" and "moaning" about the way Veterans are honored these days. As much as I'd like to "toot our own horn," I can't really say the flood of Veterans demanding their dues washes out clean. The waiting lists are accumulating, and there doesn't seem to be an end in sight. Someone doesn't have their electric scooter, and someone can't get their surgery. Someone has been waiting and waiting for a reply. Everyone is stuck in the process; either erring in the lack of knowledge of the processes or falling victim to the waiting game. Veterans are thrown into the pot of budget cuts and health care reforms. Someone's paperwork was thrown into the fire, and someone's military records are lost in Pandora's box.
The truth of the matter is some Veterans barely gave a thing, and are expecting it all. Other Veterans gave all, and don't expect a thing. No matter where a Veteran of the United States Military falls on the scale, it is up to us as a whole, as Americans, to honor those who have served, period.
So, many people who served in the military were told "no." These people were told no, because of this or that. These Veterans were told no, because their paperwork wasn't processed correctly, or because they did not provide enough supporting evidence. These people were told no because the paperwork said "no."
What are these Veterans to do? Last time they checked, they were provided an honorable agreement. Sign up for our military. You will get benefits and healthcare. You will be taken care of. Your family will have insurance. You may pay the ultimate price, but ultimately, your family won't pay - - we will.
Now-a-days, the negotiation is a little off-sided. Wait, you didn't serve enough time. Wait, your paperwork is out of order. Wait, your records are missing! Wait - - you don't exist! Wait - - you're just going to have to wait!
These scenarios are all too common these days.
I've seen it anger the families of Veterans. I have seen it anger people because of the sacrifice they have given. I gave you, the Military, my family. I gave the military my husband; he was gone when our child was born. I gave you, the military, my life - - we've moved all over the United States as you have ordered, and now look - - our paperwork is missing.
I can deeply sympathize with the frustration of the American people. They gave
sacrifices and were told they would receive these benefits. Now, at times --
not always, it is a hassle, and it shouldn't be. Our communities should always
honor the time served and the sacrifices offered. We should always remember
that some Soldiers came home, and others did not.
Overall, we should honor the agreement in which these military members were contracted. We, as an American people, are obligated to honor those beautiful people, and support them, regardless if we realize some may have taken advantage. We definitely do not want deserving Soldiers to fall within the cracks of American justice.
My conclusion is: Patience and Action.
*I know patience is a frustrating virtue for some, but one of the most rewarding, indeed. While the masses are accumulating, budgets are lowering, and success with Veterans benefits is far and few between. I must remind everyone not to lose faith in our system.
*Secondly – we need to appreciate the virtue of Action. Don’t just sit back and clock in with a time served stamp. Let’s move forward – each working for a positive change in whatever way we can. We need to show the American people that they’ve invested in the amazing citizens we claim to be, by positive action, not by holding out our hand.
Those in charge of processing paperwork for our Veterans are not completely
lost. We must continue to support Veterans operations in order to progress.
We, as an American people, are showing our gratitude – day by day –
by hiring Veterans, creating numerous programs, and showing our support in many
ways. We, the Americans, will never forget those who have paid the ultimate
sacrifice, and therefore, are willing to comply with the promises given from
the signatures contracted by our honored military members.