My opinion on veteran appreciation

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We as Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Coasties alike are trained and groomed to be silent professionals.

We aren’t boastful and certainly don’t need a pat on the back and/or a thank you for our service. We don’t do it for the pay, benefits, to march in parades, or the freebies and discounts on Veterans Day.

It’s simply an honor to serve and defend this great country. Sure the U.S. has its problems, but I see more people wanting to come to this country than leave it, so what does that tell you.

Many current servicemen and servicewomen have served in war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan, and did so over several deployments.

Unfortunately, they are often dropped back into American society with very little support to acclimate them back to a normal routine. Some come back home and are physically, and/or mentally not whole; and don’t want to be reminded of the most tragic and horrific time of their lives. So saying, “Thank you for your service,” may not always be the best idea.

America made a promise long ago to its veterans that if you have a service-connected injury, you will be taken care of, which is why the Veterans Administration was formed. The VA has not kept its promise.

Sure President Obama nominated a new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald, but what has been done since July 2014?

There’s still the huge backlog of veteran patients that need immediate care. Tens of thousands of medical positions that still need to be filled across the nation in the VA hospitals, and that hiring is going at a dismal pace.

Veterans deserve better than that. Which is why I implore everyone to a call of action. If you really want to thank a veteran, everyone should call, write or email his or her senator, representative and president to get the Veterans Administration moving in the right direction immediately.

The first step to truly appreciating the service and sacrifice of America’s veterans is to understand that the vast majority served with honor while in uniform and continue to do so in civilian life, as neighbors, co-workers, spouses, parents and members of their communities.

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Photo by Tribune News Sevice

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