Wednesday, November 11, 2009

This Veterans Day.

Is unlike any other that I can think of. The Ft Hood massacre will go down in history as one of the most horrific crimes committed on a military base in this country.After watching the gut wrenching "final roll call" and the Presidents eulogy for those who lost their lives, I was reminded of what many feel is their duty to serve this country in a all volunteer army. Is it the bad economy or patriotism?

And while the President decides whether to ship off as many as 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan, Beacon Hill has passed and awaits Deval's signature, a bill that expands benefits to veterans. Expanded Welcome Home Bonus, substituting relevant experience for state certification requirements, preferences for disabled veterans who own businesses. The bill also makes it easier for vets to cast absentee ballots and the building of group homes for vets. Soldiers will also go through neuropsychological testing before and after tours of duty. The bill also establishes a "Massachusetts medal of Liberty" to be awarded to those families who have lost a soldier killed in action.

All well and good and about time. But there are seriuos deficits on how we treat our vets and while one in three homeless people are vets, so many others have never gotten the respect or help they were once promised by both State and Federal governments. I wonder how many young people realize that before going off to war. Last month, the recruiters announced that they have, for the first time in 37 years, met their recruitment objectives with volunteers, most of which graduated from high school.

There are 2 million vets here in Mass who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan with many more to become veterans. Over 4,000 have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and the number grows daily. 58,000 lost their lives in the Vietnam conflict with still unanswered questions about the POW MIA's from that era. A young soldier from Plymouth and another unidentified soldier with him trying to recovery supplies dropped in a river, who was MIA and feared to be held hostage by the Taliban was recovered yesterday. This follows the deadlist day since the war started 8 years ago, where two Massachusetts solidiers were killed in helicopter accidents.

All the brave men and women who have volunteered to sacrifice their lives on our behalf should never be forgotten or forsaken. Those who read this blog who went to war, have my heart felt respect and admiration, for it is not all Americans who can face up to dying for their country.

And as our commander and chief mulls over sending more troops to Afghanistan, Senator Kerry has sounded the alarm as he did many years ago, in front of the very same committee he's on now, drawing similarities to the Vietnam conflict. And while some say it's not the same as Vietnam, the fact that our mission is not clear to anyone is wrong. Kerry is quoted as saying" The main lesson that Obama must absorb from Vietnam is the necessity to explain our goals in Afghanistan, and to choose clear and realistic strategies to meet them".

I agree with the Senator.... again.


At November 11, 2009 at 12:56 PM , Blogger Just wondering said...

Nice piece here Jim. A day that we should pay special attention to those who have served our country. The middle east is our next Viet Nam, and if we do not recognize that, we are doomed to the same failures and misjudgements that cost us so dearly in that era. Time for a honest and accurate assessment of what we hope to accomplish, and how much of that we really can, in these countries. We have so much need at home, shouldn't we have more focus on that, including veterans who have returned?

At November 11, 2009 at 4:23 PM , Blogger Old soldier said...

Thanks Pillsbury for saying what needs to be said. Don’t often agree with Kerry, but he has got it right on this issue, and as a vet himself, he knows of what he speaks. Does not matter what he did or did not do in Viet Nam, he served in a battle zone, he answered the call, and he saw what that meant. Those who did not serve have got to listen to those of us who did.

At November 11, 2009 at 5:59 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

A sobering fact about how people are still wanting to speak to the loved ones who died in Vietnam, over 100,00 objects have been left at the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, since 1982. Everything from baseball cards to a prisoner cage are now in a non public historic storage facility. Friends and families still greave over the Vietnam conflict. We saw mementoes left at the moving wall this past summer in W. Roxbury.

We lost Americans from 1957 to 1975in Vietnam... and we still greave. It defined a whole generation and is still felt today. So many lives lost, in so many ways.

Are we really going to let that happen again? Not that it matters, but a CNN poll says 56% of Americans, say they don't support the war.... why? because of the government (Afgan)over there... sound familiar?

It took them a long time for them to listen and get it the last time. The horrible events at Ft Hood have opened us up to even more disasters, like the trial of Hassen, his just punishment, the Muslim connection and what will the military do now with an estimated 3,500 Muslims out of 1.4 million in the military. The 15, 20 30, 40, thousand more possible veterans next year... how many more the next years? How can we say to them, they will taken care of, when we haven't done right by for the veterans we already have.

At November 13, 2009 at 1:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice job Jim. You continue to impress. Not enough people paying attention to the vets. They deserve all of our respect.

At November 14, 2009 at 1:28 PM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

And while some who read this blog can attest first hand, the horrific and unspeakable truths of the sheer horrors of past wars that they have witnessed, the veterans of the past few years are committing suicide at record levels. In the past 30 days, 16 veterans took their own lives, mostly, when they got back home from war. This year alone, 133 armed forces personal took their own lives, up 30% from last year.

Those who come home from war, must have the above average care promised, they must go in knowing they will be taken care of no matter what the cost, America owes it to them and as history has shown, we have not done a good job in the past.


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