I use to enjoy this time of the year. A presidential election around the corner, celebrating our heritage as a nation. This year, with troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere around the world, who cares about Vietnam? The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and their counterparts Texans for Truth, have made this election a joke and we should all be outraged! I believe the more important issue is what happen to the veterans when they returned home? I'm not talking about parades or a pat on the back, I'm talking about years from now. Will the government keep their promises to all these heroes? Right now, I can say they won't! Last year I wrote a poem entitled "Where is the VA?", which the Daily-Sun published on Veteran's Day. From that time to July 30, 2004, I watched a World War II veteran fade away. This veteran was my father-in-law, George Rohr. The VA seemed to do everything possible to help speed along the process. To cut costs, seeing a VA doctor became a once a year appointment. The government "outsourced" its responsibility to local doctors, which would have been OK, if the government, worked with these doctors. The last year and a half of my father-in-laws life was filled with disgust for a government he believed in his whole life.
In the end, he was tired and in pain. For family members the last 24 hours will never be forgotten. A feeling of hopelessness with acceptance. And we were all comforted by the fact that nurses, doctors, and Hospice, all said he was in no pain. You want to know something? I now understand his disgust. The VA, won't pay for the pain medication, because they didn't approve it! The VA would have rather seen an old man suffer and die in pain, instead of paying $650 as a final "Thank you" to one of its heroes!
I think its time we tell our politicians to stop it! Stop the lies, stop the games. Our nation deserves more then this. Instead of wondering who did what in Vietnam, maybe we should be more concerned about who is going to take care of all these veterans. The poem below I wrote, trying to share my frustration, with an issue that isn't right, and both political parties seem to ignore.
BROKEN, NEVER DEFEATED!
Families cried when they went to war.
Cheered! Upon return, walking through their door!
They were all happy and relieved.
Years later, they learned, they were deceived.
For the soldier, the war would never end.
The government destroyed his heart -
It was impossible to mend.
Tossed aside, hoping they'd disappear.
The VA, taught them a new fear.
Clinics and doctors, rarely returning calls.
Their appointments, they'd sit, for hours,
Staring at the walls.
As the soldier dies,
He leaves behind a family, to mourn and cry.
They remember, their hero,
Dressed in white, green, or blue.
Then the VA says, "We're not quite through!"
"This bill won't be paid,
Because of an error that was made."
"One other thing, we should mention,
His wife, is not entitled to his pension."
For the USA, he fought, day after day.
He believed in what he was fighting for.
But, in the end the VA - SLAM SHUT THE DOOR.