Let’s face it, our culture is one of entitlement. More and more folks, it seems, are unapologetically dependent on the government for something — whether it’s welfare (corporate as well as individual), food stamps, extended unemployment benefits, disability payments, farm subsidies ... the list goes on.
But one group of Americans — more deserving than any other of any benefit this nation may bestow — remains a breed apart, with regard to expectations. Our veterans ask for little — that is, when viewed in terms of services rendered and sacrifices made — and, at times, receive even less. And not just in terms of benefits demonstrably earned, but also simple respect and gratitude.
Consider these recent developments:
Tarring with the broadest of brushes, a Northwestern University history professor, writing in The New York Times, maintained that veterans returning from war are susceptible to the dubious (and noxious) appeals of the Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups.
So bureaucratically sclerotic is our system of veterans health care that some 40 former servicemen in Phoenix, Ariz., died, CNN revelaed, while waiting for care. CNN reported that “secret waiting lists” were used to massage the fact that sick vets were forced to wait months to see a physician.
We realize our nation’s vets do not lack for genuine advocates, but sometimes, it seems as if little more than lip service is paid to what they’ve endured on our behalf. If anyone merits the fruits of what this country can provide — from medical care to freedom from rank categorization by the professoriat — it’s the American veteran.
Who speaks for him? It should be everyone, a grateful nation en toto.