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Support our war veterans

Dana Jurich
Vail CO, Colorado

I’ve always been annoyed by those stupid yellow “Support Our Troops” decals from Wal-Mart. I saw it as not only supporting our troops, but also the erroneous war we’ve immersed ourselves in. After reading a very heavy Newsweek article the other day, and catching wind of our newly-released 2008 federal tax budget, I’ve reconsidered what that stupid decal means to me.

Those poor kids have it rough. Enlisting as children, emerging as war veterans, there is no one left to relate to. Imagine for a minute you are one of these kids. You go to an inner-city high school, where (chances are) you are underprivileged to begin with. Then the recruiters arrive to your hometown. Promising a future full of worldly travel, thwarting enemy espionage and getting paid much more than you can fathom presently, you are tempted beyond reason, and so you accept.

Suddenly you find yourself churned through boot camp with a shaved head, adorning automatic weapons, and ready for action. You are then flown to remote parts of the world where America has involved itself and you are told to fight for your country ” these clueless kids don’t have the foggiest notion of what they are truly fighting for. After all, they aren’t trained to think, they are trained to fight. Out of every 16 soldiers wounded in battle, one dies. The other 15 are flown home, their duty fulfilled.

They arrive home to a country that has all but forgotten them. These children by age, veterans by experience, are the new breed of outsiders. Incapable of connecting to their once-peers, our youngest generation of veterans has missed out on a crucial part of their lives: their youth. Now strangers in a strange land, they are haunted by nightmares of exploding bodies and blood-curling screams night and day. Their minds as well as bodies are ravaged beyond repair, and they’ve got no one to turn to.

Veterans’ mental health facilities across the nation are already maxed out, with waiting lists up the wazoo. Endless, bureaucratic, nonsensical paperwork awaits the amputees, the burned and the mentally burdened. They are torn apart. They can’t sleep, they can’t work, they can’t integrate back into their native society, and they are sent home with their hat in their hands and told to wait. Depending on veteran’s assistance checks that will put food in their mouths and clothes on their backs, they are sorely disappointed when they discover the things they’ve been promised are all made of dust.

Are we failing our veterans? What kind of message is our government sending our youth by dropping the ball on veteran’s assistance funding? Have a look at the federal budget for the upcoming year. We are not only cutting back on veteran’s assistance, but also food and heat for the poor. All of which is disgraceful.

If it takes one village to raise one child, then it must take an entire nation to mend the wounds of a soldier. Show support for our kids, they’ve been robbed of everything but their integrity. By donating time, money or other valuable resources, you are offering a beacon of light in an otherwise depressingly bleak situation. It is time to support out troops.

Dana Jurich of Avon writes a biweekly column for the Daily. Send comments or questions to editor@vaildaily.com.


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