I don’t have their problems, thank God. They had to spend months and sometimes years wondering if the next IED or RPG would have their name on a piece of its shrapnel. Or, they already got their brain pan blasted and now can’t figure out how to make a simple to-do list. Maybe they came away with a mangled eye or leg. Could be the only thing that happened was running through a jungle that had just been sprayed with Agent Orange, and now they’ve got diabetes or prostate cancer or had a heart attack. Yep, that’s right—we gave them that. Not the enemy. The U.S. government. And in a democracy that means us. You and me. So we should be responsible for their rehab, paying their family if they can’t get a job, making sure they get surgery or medication for their illnesses.
Not all of them had really traumatic experiences in the service. Many had a great job with good friends, and then got discharged into an economy that has no jobs and gang
members that want to take a piece of “the war hero” every day. All they really want is to feel a part of something more important, feel useful again. But, just like in Vietnam, something happened when they were gone. The U.S. of A. changed. Now they must change, too. And we must help them.
No. Veteran’s Day is only once a year for most of us. For them it’s every day, whether they like it or not. Memories haunt them, or are carved into their anatomy.
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I’ve spent most of my adult life trying to help those who have sacrificed. That’s why I work for the VA. It is also a big reason I wrote Dan’s War. I hate it that our soldiers must fight in a land most would never have dreamed of going, nor wanted to. They have to fight for oil, which happens to allow us freedom. I want to be green, tomorrow; but there’s getting to work, visiting relatives, heating my house—all things that require fossil fuels. I hate and love oil every day. We must keep trying to be green, and to stop war,
for those that have served, and for our future sons and daughters.
That’s why, beginning December 1 2011, $1 for every Dan’s War sold will go to the VA.
Maybe you have something you can do every day for veterans, too. It doesn’t have to be much. But with the war in Afghanistan winding down, funding for the VA is already
reducing—out of sight, out of mind. I’m not saying we need another war, God no. We just need to keep helping the veterans until each and every one has recovered from the horrors they experienced to allow us to continue living in freedom.
They sacrificed for us. The least we could do is sacrifice something for them.
Don’t make Veterans Day only one day a year. Do something every day.