I keep seeing borrowed status updates on facebook today that thank our veterans for their service. And, sure, who am I to disagree with that? But thanks doesn’t cost anything. Words are not enough.
Let’s thank our veterans for their service by giving them the full measure of what they’ve earned and need when their service is over: health care, mental health care, tuition grants, and housing benefits. Would this mean I’d have to pay higher taxes? Probably. Bring it on. Some things are worth paying for.
Once upon a time military service in this country could be a vault into the middle class. It certainly was for my grandfather, who served in the Pacific during WWII and later graduated from UCLA with a degree in Business on the government’s dime. His Naval service (he enlisted) and the benefits that came from it represented a turning point in our family history, moving from generations of farm folks struggling to put food on the table, to a successful legacy wherein all his kids and grandkids went to college (and then some!) and hold white-collar jobs.
I always think of Grandpa when I pass the guy on the corner in my town with a sign saying, “Iraq Veteran. Will work for food.” How I wish I could give this guy more than a few dollars and my thanks for his service. I wish I could give him the kind of thanks my grandfather got. And I wish I could give him a government that cared.