For years, veterans have complained to the media about the conditions at the Oklahoma City VA Hospital and Oklahoma City's Fox 25 conducted a few interviews and talked to hospital staff. In the report that ran February 9, we were left with more questions rather than answers.
Veterans have also complained for decades to members of the Oklahoma Congressional Delegation and have received mixed reports on the progress. Many veteran's groups such as the Mid-America Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America have made great strides with members of Congress and Senator Jim Inhofe has been actively involved in providing legislative assistance in Washington for disabled veterans.
But the problem is much larger in scope than merely legislative assistance. The problem is societal, emotional. Going back to perhaps the Korean war, returning troops didn't receive the same warm reception as they did during WWII and the decline of adoration for members of our Armed Services continues. Men and women who oppose war at all costs have permeated the fabric of the media and the message being sent out is one of apathy. Today, veterans are looked at as civil service employees - not to say that civil service isn't important, but a distinction must be made at some point.
Currently, we have boots on the ground in more than one theater and yet, we hear very little about the triumphs and strategic victories the men and women of the Armed Forces are experiencing. We read newspaper reports and watch television stories of the veterans who come home suffering from all sorts of ailments relative to service, with the primary focus on proving the media's point that war is wrong and the mechanism by which war is waged (veterans) are less important than communicating to the masses how evil our country is for even thinking about going to war in the first place.
But our country owes a debt of gratitude to our military. And our country should care for our veterans.
Reports of how poor the medical care has been to our veterans (including the horrific reports in the past from Walter Reed), should be rare, but unfortunately they are commonplace.
It doesn't have to be this way. It shouldn't be this way. Lord willing, it won't stay this way.
The dialog is continuing...let's keep it going.