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Supporting The Troops: Regardless...

Written by veterans  |  30. November 2007

There are those who believe the administration is selfless not selfish and therefore only/always "does" what's best for "the country's many," not just for "the administration's few." There are those who believe otherwise. Regardless in which "camp" you fall (and considering the season) to fully support any servicemember or veteran who has, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check made payable to "The United States of America," for an amount of "up to and including my life," what can one do? To Support The Troops For those so inclined: keep them in your prayers. Locally: ask your local Veteran Service Organization's Chapter or Post what you can do to help them support the troops. But keep in mind many veterans always equate support of our troops as also needing to always support the administration. Why is this so? Many veterans "need" to believe the administration's positions ARE ALWAYS correct. This "need" runs deep and is in many ways "tied to" the veteran's self-image -- all that another topic for another day. Your support of the troops can be made without debating the administration's position(s), no matter how hard you find it not to. Consider "Biting your tongue" as yet another way to show your support of the troops. Nationally: Do a Google search (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=support+troops) and pick one or more with which you feel "comfortable." Consider making a donation to one of the more than 300 nonprofit organizations dedicated to helping our troops and their families listed on the "America Supports You" website, (http://www.americasupportsyou.mil/). Other organizations that offer means of showing your support for our troops or to assist wounded servicemembers and their families include the following. "To Our Soldiers:" providing this service as an opportunity to send a message of support to Soldiers who are serving in the War on Terrorism. It is not designed to be a letter writing service, instant-messaging service, e-mail service, bulletin board or general chat service. These messages are viewed individually and edited or deleted based on content. Profanity and violations of operational security, privacy, and propriety will not be posted. Soldiers around the world appreciate your thoughts and feelings of support (http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/tooursoldiers/). American Red Cross Military Members and Families: Today's American Red Cross is keeping pace with the changing military. Using the latest in computer and telecommunications technology, the Red Cross sends communications on behalf of family members who are facing emergencies or other important events to members of the U.S. Armed Forces serving all over the world. These communications are delivered around-the-clock, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. While providing services to 1.4 million active duty personnel and their families, the Red Cross also reaches out to more than 1.2 million members of the National Guard and the Reserves and their families who reside in nearly every community in America. Red Cross workers in hundreds of chapters and on military installations brief departing service members and their families regarding available support services and explain how the Red Cross may assist them during the deployment. Both active duty and community-based military can count on the Red Cross to provide emergency communications that link them with their families back home, access to financial assistance, counseling and assistance to veterans. Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces personnel work in 756 chapters in the United States, on 58 military installations around the world and with our troops in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. (http://www.redcross.org/). "Operation USO Care Package:" enables the public to express their support of our men and women in uniform. Sponsoring a care package and including a personal message provides individuals with a way to touch the lives of our deployed troops around the world (http://www.usocares.org/). The Troops will appreciate it... This Week's Not Commented on Topic - Priorities AS WE CREATE MORE VETERANS' MONUMENTS, WE MUST ASK "WHY?" -- Commentary by Larry Scott: "A dead veteran doesn't know we've etched his name on a monument. But a living veteran will forever cherish the moment of kindness we offer." A few days ago I came across an article in a small town newspaper. A local veterans' service organization was raising funds for a new veterans' monument. A noble gesture... until I saw the price tag. The initial fundraising goal was set at $50,000. The total cost of the monument will be at least $150,000! I asked myself, "Why?" Why would this group spend $150,000 for a monument? I don't have an answer for that, but I do know that if this organization's goal is to honor veterans, that amount of money can be better spent in many ways. The concept of a "monument" is that the living will remember the dead. So, a monument is not really for veterans... it's for the living to remember veterans. Does this serve a purpose? Perhaps... in some abstract way. But, not in a realistic way that truly serves veterans... because a dead veteran doesn't know we've etched his name on a monument... but a living veteran will forever cherish the moment of kindness we offer. It's just that simple. Building another monument to veterans is an easy out. Caring for living veterans requires so much more... and, that "much more" is something that we, as a society, are reluctant to give. I did some Internet searches for veterans' monuments and memorials that are being planned. The above figure of $150,000 is at the low-end of what is being spent. I found $500,000 and $900,000 and monuments running into the millions and tens of millions of dollars. Just think of how much good that money could do for living veterans... assuming that the goal of the organizations building these monuments is really to show their caring for veterans. Here are a few ideas: Providing hospice care to a World War II veteran who is not service-connected and can't get VA care; Providing a mobility device, such as an electric scooter, to a Korean War veteran who can't get this through the VA; Doing yard work or house cleaning for the Vietnam veteran down the street... you know, the one who's so ill from exposure to Agent Orange that he can't do these things for himself; Helping a Gulf War veteran get treatment for their Gulf War Illnesses. Many of these veterans are turning to alternative medicine treatments that are not covered by the VA; Looking in the on the family of a service member currently deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. I'm sure the "military mom" and her kids have plenty of needs that the military is not tending to. These are just a few ideas off the top of my head. There are so many more... and, I'm sure you can think of hundreds. It's time to put our money to good use when it comes to serving veterans. This is NOT a call to stop building monuments... just a call for some sort of sanity when it comes to spending our money dedicated to veterans. How about this? When every need of every veteran in our communities is met, then we build a monument. We are a wealthy Nation. We are a giving and caring people. We can do both. But, which will we do first? I'll leave that to you. What would you rather do? Get a "thank you" and a smile from a veteran or family member... or stand and stare at a piece of stone with a bunch of names carved in it? Larry Scott (http://www.vawatchdog.org/07/nf07/nfNOV07/nf113007-1.htm) --- Regards, Walt Schmidt

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