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Veterans Deserve Our Best
posted November 5, 2009
GUEST OPINION - One of my favorite
traditions of the U.S. military is the lowering of the flag at 5:00 pm
on all our bases. Patriotic music is played; military personnel
stop where they are, salute and stand at attention with pride as the
flag of the United States of America is slowly lowered, folded and
retired until the next day.
As a pilot in the U.S. Air Force, I was one of those proud, young
officers who participated in this ceremony. It was an honor to pause
and remember … as it is today for us all to pause and remember.
Honoring our veterans involves more than special ceremonies. It obliges
us to remember that they need our support during and after their
service. Regrettably, meeting the needs of our veterans tends to happen
only when Congress is prodded to action.
Sad to say, our leaders do not always show the care and concern needed
to help those who gave so much.
There were the horror stories of our wounded service men and women
returning to despicable conditions at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
We heard the tragedies of how they were not transported to much needed
care and therapy. There were long delays in the transition from
active duty to veterans’ benefits.
That is changing.
In the past two years, our government finally responded to the needs of
all of our veterans. Congress passed two pieces of landmark
The VA Advance Appropriations bill*, passed just last month, puts
funding for our military veterans as top priority instead of leaving it
at the bottom of the list. It removes partisanship and politics from
the veterans’ funding process. This allows our veterans’ programs to
always be funded instead of getting the leftovers — if there were any.
Last year, the new GI Bill began offering education benefits** that we
have not seen since WWII. These benefits allow our military men
and women the opportunity to improve their education. Higher
education combined with their tremendous military experience allows
them to achieve their hopes and dreams.
Our veterans clearly deserve the best we can offer. These are our
heroes, whether they are WWII, Korean War, Vietnam or Gulf War vets or
those fighting today in Iraq and Afghanistan.
As a female vet, I want to speak on behalf of the women who have
served. There have been many … more than 2.5 million since the
According to Senator Linda Murkowski (R-AK), “Women
make up 14 percent of our current active duty, guard and reserves. It
is projected that the number of female veterans who use the VA system
will double in the next five years, making women veterans one of the
fastest growing subgroups of veterans.”***
For our military men and women alike, we must go the extra mile for
them and their families, all who have sacrificed so much.
So, as you honor them today with a salute or a few moments of
reflection, please remember that our support must not be only
ceremonial but also depends on Congress to give them the best.
Our veterans deserve no less.
Jane Dyer is the Democratic candidate for Congress in the 3rd District.
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