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Respect for Veterans

Updated on October 3, 2013

The veterans of our country deserve the utmost respect for their service and the sacrifices they and their families have made. The time they served protecting the freedoms we have earns them this respect and with respect comes being honored for their service. Many veterans are in their elder years especially those who have fought in wars and conflicts which have long ended. It is at this time when they need our support and our country’s support more than ever.

Those who return to their towns and homes from the conflicts and dangerous places in foreign countries receive recognition by their communities for their service. After the initial welcoming we need to not forget their service and honor them every day. There are many fine organizations who work hard with the volunteers they have to support all the veterans and their needs but we need to do this as individuals. Each time we see a veteran in uniform or those we know are veterans we need to thank them for their service. I am proud to support veterans regardless of when they served and others should do the same regardless of whether they support the conflict in which they fought. When veterans returned from Viet Nam they did not always receive the respect and support they deserved. This should never happen again but it is sad to say that this is not the case or at least the appearance is not the case.

Regardless of the battles in Congress with the current funding efforts they need to put aside their differences to make sure veterans of all ages have the support and respect they deserve. It is great that legislation was passed to make sure our military get paid for their continued service but support it is or should be much more. Visits by veterans to the memorials commemorating their service located in Washington D.C. have been in the news in recent days where veterans wanting to visit them through what by way of honor flights have been restricted. Budget battles should never hamper the ability of veterans to visit these memorials ever. Congress whatever it takes should make sure in the future that access to these memorials are never restricted again in the future. All veterans deserve this access.

The memorials in Washington exemplify our recognition of service to our country by all individuals regardless of the wars or conflicts in which they have served. In the preceding paragraph I mentioned honor flights. These flights provide the mechanism for many veterans to visit the memorials some of which may not have the capability to visit them through their own power. Many individuals help the veterans on honor flights and some I believe develop friendships they may never have had. We as a country can never repay these brave men and women who have fought in the wars and conflicts throughout our history.

The current issues with the government shutdown as it has been called should not prevent these veterans from visiting the memorials in Washington. While the park services are part of what is deemed to be non-essential in the battle to fund government operations there should be an exception to allow veterans to their memorials. The access to visit the memorials in Washington should be designated essential rather than non-essential operations. These memorials represent many things to veterans visiting them not the least of which are the names of those with whom they served. It brings back memories of this part of their life. Another thing these memorials do is that it also provides memories of the thousands of individuals who have served in the wars and conflicts, which, we as a country felt it was necessary for us to participate. While decisions have been made regarding access to these memorials are within the authority of those making them exceptions should be granted. It should not even be a question. Veterans regardless of the times and issues surrounding our country including the need to fund the government veterans should be treated with dignity.

It is hoped that this situation will be corrected in the future. Congress should do whatever is necessary to protect the respect all veterans deserve. Those who have served to protect the freedoms we enjoy have been through much in the lives. It began with the decision to join the military ranks. It was a decision which they embraced and knew the dangers they would face during the wars and conflicts in which they fought. While they came back alive many came back injured and many lost friends and colleagues. Veterans do not need to face other obstacles to visit the memorials which commemorate the struggles they faced. Congress needs to get their act together to raise the level of respect and dignity these veterans deserve. There needs to be a permanent solution to provide unlimited access to veteran’s memorials by veterans and individuals of all ages who want to remember the individuals who lost their lives. Our country owes them nothing less than to provide the access they have earned. Let us hope Congress does the right thing to make this happen. This should not be a political exercise and both political parties must stand up for veterans in this situation.


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