VA Scandal & Montel Williams

I can’t say how much it meant to hear Montel Williams standing up for veterans.  As a wife of an Army Soldier, daughter of a Navy submariner, a family member of many veterans, and a friend/mourner of countless veterans, it lifted my heart.  Someone with some power in this country cares and cares enough to stand up and say something.

Don’t get me wrong.  Many do care.  Unfortunately, not many are in positions of power. Veterans need advocates.  Either a few powerful ones, or a lot of un-powerful ones that create power in numbers.  This scandal has caused both to happen. A few lime-light people are standing up and many, many everyday people are banding together to show their support.  Thank you.

I have to say that many in the military, and their families, have had to grow a hard heart.  We’ve known for a long time that we did not have support from our government.  We’ve known for about 6 years.  There’s been a lot of problems with the VA for a long time, spanning decades.  We have seen it up front with relatives dealing with Agent Orange effects from Vietnam or PTSD from Vietnam.  These relatives are still having issues.  And we have definitely seen it in our generation of fighters. But over the past few years, we have felt that we have been forgotten. That we are only remembered when it is politically advantageous (ie – playing politics with pay, renigging on retirement contracts, etc). This happens on both sides.

It has been morally debilitating.  To know that you are supporting your country, that you are putting your life on the line for its ideals, but that the people who are sending you to war don’t care enough to get you what you need (before, during, and after war).  To not ever know what promises/contracts will be kept and which won’t.  Not knowing what kind of support the family will get during and after deployment.  Not knowing if you will be able to get the help you may need after deployment.  Not knowing if your pay will come on time, or at all.

 Both the military service members and their families take on this duty for our nation.  We deal with the hardships and the sacrificing because we feel called to do what we do. But we have become pretty cynical, accepting our responsibility and duty
because it is the right thing to do, even when others demean it (not in
words, but in actions).  It’s not an easy road.

So, when the people rise up and defend us when we need it, and when people like Montel Williams are mad as hell when we can’t be, it softens our hearts.  It touches us. It makes us feel part of America, like we haven’t been left behind and forgotten.

I think back to the stories of Vietnam.  Veterans coming home and being subjugated to harsh treatment, derogatory actions, and false accusations.  I think of all the things that they were exposed to during war and the government wouldn’t acknowledge it, causing our veterans to have major health issues due to lack of medical care.  Who stood up for them then? No one would.  People couldn’t get past politics to defend humanity.

But now, it is different.  People still hate war.  People disagree with the government and its decisions.  The government is still acting poorly.  However, when crisis happens and it is discovered that our veterans are being treated wrong, the masses stood up.  No one blamed the veterans and made them suffer because of decisions the government made.  No.  Citizens said “enough is enough” and are now demanding that the veterans be taken care of, that they be given what they were promised.

Thank you. It means the world to us.  We needed to see that people do care.  We hoped for it and you all showed it.  Even if no one tells you, know that all veterans and their families notice.  We see where your hearts are and we thank you for your support.

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