Monday, April 2, 2007

Where are our priorities?

Where are our priorities?
April 2, 2007
Shannon S. Anicas

Today while I was searching the Akron Beacon Journal for stories that are related to my current work field, I came across a rather disturbing story. It is titled “Veterans Living on the streets worsens” and is a candid look at the fact that with the weather warming up temporary housing for homeless veterans is being packed up (in this case worn out tents in the San Diego area) and these veterans are now back to living on the curb literally.

According to the article “the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates about 195,000 veterans are homeless on a typical night.” What?!?! And that is only an estimate. The downfall of being homeless is you don’t have a mailing address so they can send surveys to you to see if you are homeless. (Notice my sarcasm here?)

My husband and I are veterans, my father is a veteran, and my uncle and grandfather are veterans as well. You can’t throw a stone in my family or my husband’s family without hitting a person who has served their country in some capacity in the last 100 years. We are proud of that. We are far from proud at this travesty of enormous proportions.

With the recent scandals at the VA Hospital I hope some light gets shone down on the way vets are treated in other aspect of their post service capacities. Whether you approve of the conflict a veteran served in you can not blame them and ultimately treat them as they were yesterday’s trash.

How is it we dedicate hours of new on celebrity stints in rehab in our nightly news yet we have men and women who fought for our right to watch such drivel living in homeless shelters and cardboard boxes on 5th avenue?

This isn’t a new problem either. These veterans are from not only the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, but from Vietnam and even the Korean Wars. How is it that it is ok for these people (yes they are people not bums sifting through your trash) to sacrifice their lives but yet it isn’t ok for them to be treated like human beings by not only ourselves but our government as well?

It is like they have become the gum on the bottom of the shoe of society. They were good when they were new and not so much now that they are wore out and lost their flavor.

When will we learn to respect and appreciate the men and women of the military? I hope soon.

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