On this Veteran's Day, let's be sure to wear our American flag pins in honor of our war heroes. In addition, let's drive our gas-guzzling vehicles to the mall, pull out our over-extended credit card, and spend money we don't have on a new mattress or an upgraded DVD player, thanks to those ubiquitous Veteran's Day sales! After all, this is how we are asked to support our troops, right? Never mind that the National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that veterans make up one-quarter of the homeless population.
Yeah, you read that right. Besides troops returning from combat exhausted and damaged, emotionally or physically, and oftentimes both, they are also being put out on the street. Is this really the thanks they deserve for serving our country, one that no longer remembers who they are? And I'm not sure that a one-day a year parade where we wave the flag counts.
The Bush administration was successful in using protests against bringing war into Iraq as an implication that we didn't support our troops. What's equally frustrating is that instead of pointing out how ridiculous a charge that was, most politicians and media folk backpedaled, afraid votes and podiums would be commandeered due to the unjustified statement coming out of the White House.
What's so tragic is that while this administration has failed in ostensibly trying to win the hearts and minds of those in the Middle East, they have also severely damaged those of its own men and women. There needs to be an outcry of protest, one that doesn't involve donning a flag pin or pulling out a credit card. I was against the war in Iraq from the get go, but I was certainly not against those who serve. Yes, Mr. President, let's support our troops by honoring them with less lip service and more dignity and action so that when they return to American soil, they will be welcomed in the comfort of a home instead of wheeled onto the street where they are forgotten until a parade passes by.