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Last updated: August 04. 2014 9:29AM - 53 Views
Ted Smith Contributing Columnist



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My military life began on my 20th birthday. Gosh, I was so young. At that time, one would take his draft papers to the local draft office, board a bus and ride to a local processing center. In later years I would relive those days and it became apparent just why our government drafts young men. It is simply because older men learn to question strange or unusual commands, as opposed to younger adults.


But I digress. After testing, physicals, being sworn in (and at), immunizations, haircuts, and new look alike clothing, we were moved to (of all places) Fort Gordon, Ga., for Boot Camp.


As one of millions of veterans who chose to serve and protect America, imagine my disgust several years ago, when I sat down to watch the evening news and actually witnessed crowds of protesters spitting on fellow patriots who were returning from their time spent in a little country called Vietnam. Little wonder so many soldiers came home from that war zone with a myriad of medical and mental problems.


If the history of America’s involvement in wars has taught us anything, the simple facts are this: in order for America to remain a free state, older citizens often make decisions that drastically affect a small amount of our youth. Many of the soldiers killed and wounded in America’s war zones have been seventeen and eighteen year old kids, barely recognizable as grown men, but doing a grown mans duty. This is my current view on our present embarrassment throughout our Veterans Administration:


They say Americans are so enamored with their veterans they even erect statues in every county of every state to honor veterans lost in every particular war.


They say American statesmen were so proud of their veterans they even named a federal holiday in their honor.


They say Americans hold parades for veterans when they return home.


They say American legislators were so proud of their veterans they formed a complete Veterans Administration to care for veterans when they returned home.


Naturally, we would all like to believe the previous statements, but the real truth is this: The common man has known for many years that most of the institutions for our veterans were only a place where veterans could go to die. I believe most citizens believe the Veterans Administration has never treated their sick and wounded as true heroes.


The information this year has been a total train wreck and I question whether this system can be repaired without a total overhaul. Some high level officials have lost their jobs and bonuses, but is this enough? I don’t think so. Our current administration has said, “we will investigate.”


Now, I don’t know about you, but I am not willing to sweep this situation under the rug and then as soon as people forget, return to those wicked ways of mistreatment to our heroes.


Personally, I have always believed that if one is going to complain, they should offer ideas for improvement. And so, after making that statement, here are my thoughts regarding a path forward. Why not eliminate our Veterans Administration completely?


Let’s start treating our veterans with dignity by allowing their cases be heard in local doctors offices and area hospitals. Let’s scrap quotas and treat each case equally and on a timely basis.


Something must change and for that to happen, each of us must act quickly. With this being an election year, we do have an advantage. Our elected leaders cannot afford to ignore our pleas. So, you can make a difference, but you must act quickly. Call your Newberry County Chamber of Commerce and ask for the telephone numbers and addresses of our U.S. Congressmen and U.S. Senators, then call as well as write demanding our elected leaders get involved and quickly deal with this scandal.


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