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Thoughts about veterans and peace on Veterans Day

Baby boomers are among the many veterans who have served their country. One estimate is there are 9.5 million boomer veterans in America.

Veterans Many speeches are given on Veterans Day about the contributions soldiers are making and have made to our country. Here's what leaders had to say this year:

President George W. Bush

The truth of the matter is, I will miss being the commander in chief of such a fabulous group of men and women -- those who wear the uniform of the United States military... Thank you for your courage, thank you for your sacrifice, and thank you for standing up when your nation needed you most.

President-Elect Barack Obama

Let us rededicate ourselves to keep a sacred trust with all who have worn the uniform of the United States of America: that America will serve you as well as you have served your country. As your next commander in chief, I promise to work every single day to keep that sacred trust with all who have served.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake

While our foremost thoughts are with those in distant war zones today, Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to pay their respects to all who answered the nation's call to military service. Participation in Veterans Day can be as simple as putting out the porch flag or reminding youngsters of the story of a relative who served in the military.

But what I think about on Veterans Day and every time I hear a news account on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is, "Why isn't the federal government providing better services for veterans?"

Veterans for Common Sense focused on five news items on Veterans Day:

  1. Army Major General David Blackledge came forward to say he has post traumatic stress disorder, and that he sought psychiatric care.
  2. Two veterans' groups sued the Veterans Administration due to long delays in processing PTSD disability compensation claims.
  3. VCS released its "Vision for a Vibrant VA in 2009," a report detailing VA’s serious problems as well as pragmatic solutions to fix them.
  4. How veterans voted: 24 percent of veterans were under 45 -- 51 percent voted for Obama and 49 percent for McCain; 24 percent of veterans were aged 45 to 59 -- 53 percent voted for Obama and 45 percent for McCain; and 53 percent of veterans were age 60 and older -- 61 percent voted for McCain and 37 percent voted for Obama.
  5. VCS urges people to join several groups in calling for President-Elect Obama to close the prisoner of war camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. 

And, on Veterans Day, I think about peace.

See a list on "50 Ways to Promote Peace" from Ben & Jerry's.

Copyright 2008, Rita R. Robison, 2008

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