Veteran’s Day

Veteran's Day

This Veteran’s Day, while we are remembering the sacrifices of past generations, it is worthwhile to think about the youngest generation of American veterans. The two longest wars in American history were fought concurrently over the last decade. These wars required the service of the greatest number of Americans since the Vietnam War. Now that most of those veterans are back home in the United States, they are struggling.

America has failed to properly welcome our serving men and women. Our Department of Veterans Affairs, stripped of funding over the years as they were required to deal with fewer and fewer aging veterans, was unable to deal with the influx of new, younger veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq and struggling to reintegrate into civilian life.

In fact, it would be fair to say that the Department of Veterans Affairs was completely overwhelmed. With over 1 million veterans of the post-9/11 wars returned to civilian life, the VA simply could not handle the demand and massive waitlists were the norm, while thousands of returning veterans, suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and unable to find help, took their own lives in record numbers.

When these numbers were made public last year, it created a gigantic scandal – and rightfully so. When young Americans volunteer to spend years of their lives serving our country, making massive sacrifices, and often returning home with physical or mental wounds, it is absolutely shameful for a government to neglect them the way our government did.

However, in his Veteran’s Day address this week, President Obama proudly described the changes in the VA that have taken place over the last year. The crisis caused a major shakeup at the top of the VA, and it spurred Congress into actually investing in our veterans’ health. Obama boasted, “We have made historic investments to boost the VA budget, expand benefits, offer more mental health care and improved care for our wounded warriors, especially those with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.” The Washington Post notes that since the scandal, the VA has added 1,400 doctors and seen more than 7 million patients more than it did the year before the crisis.

While this is a huge improvement, we still need to do more. Another 200,000 American veterans will be reentering civilian life this year. It has been proven that returning veterans face a huge number of challenges when reintegrating into civilian society. From dealing with injuries sustained during their service, to finding work, to simply feeling at ease back here at home.

These young men and women have sacrificed so much for us that the very least we can do for them is make sure that they have the help and the resources they need when they come home. This is the time of year when we remember these sacrifices and honor our veterans, but we need to continue to keep our veterans in mind all year long.

If I am elected president, my administration will focus on getting our veterans AND our military personnel on active duty the resources they need to succeed and be healthy. I urge all Americans who value our veterans to cast their write-in vote for me, Art Drew, for President.

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