A Veterans' Day Plea

Now that the election is over, bloggers, political pundits, and just about everyone else are offering President-elect Barack Obama suggestions on steps he should take as soon as he is inaugurated. Me too, and here's one that's long overdue: Take good care of veteran's and their families. I look at that simple statement (that's why I set off by itself) and I wonder how that can even be an issue, and why it hasn't been taken care of already. Whether you support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan -- or any of the other conflicts we've been involved in -- is there anyone out there who does not support the men and women we send to fight? The horror stories of how recent multiple deployments have damaged families psychically and economically, and the deplorable treatment and care many veterans receive (or don't receive) once they do come home -- wounded or not -- are simply unacceptable. But for some reason we have accepted this treatment and it's time to change that. Hospitals, basic veterans' benefits, treatment facilities, family support, job protection -- all that and more should be provided for the people we send off to battle. And considering the money we spend waging wars, money can't be an issue when caring for the people and families directly affected. If you want to see what we can do -- what the government and tax dollars should do -- read a little about The Center for the Intrepid, a $50 million rehab facility financed entirely by private donations from more than 600,000 people. Located next to the Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, The Center for the Intrepid provides cutting-edge treatment for amputees and burn victims, and it was designed specifically to provide care for veterans of military service in Iraq and Afghanistan, though other vets can receive treatment too. It's a great idea and an outstanding facility, but it's too bad the private sector had to finance what is clearly a public responsibility. President-elect Obama can make that change right off the bat.