Jonathan Madison

On May 31, our nation will honor the service of our men and women in uniform in recognition of a national holiday — Memorial Day. Memorial Day is one of two national holidays that commemorate our fallen heroes, the other being Veterans Day. Some years ago, my family and I paid respects to my grandfather Warren Madison — a Vietnam veteran who proudly served our beloved nation — at the Memorial Cemetery. Warren Madison served in the hard-fought battles of Vietnam during the 1960s.

As we made our way up the hill to his beloved spot of rest, I placed a small U.S. flag and some flowers on his granite plot. After a brief moment of silence, I found myself conflicted in thought with respect to how our country honors our wounded heroes. Namely, I wrestled with the fact that, while our nation designates two holidays to pay respects to our brave men and women in uniform, we provide very little support for those who are in urgent need of medical care and support services.

I have seen time and again that our fallen comrades are treated with little to no respect with regard to their health and stability following years of patriotic service. Take for example the fact that, every 65 minutes, a vet commits suicide. This is in large part due to our nation’s inability to provide effective treatment for our wounded warriors, many who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder in addition to a multitude of physical ailments. What’s more, more than 573,000 of our wounded comrades are unemployed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Beyond that, the Department of Veterans Affairs — the federal agency tasked with administering emergency assistance and services for our wounded heroes — is significantly underfunded and inadequately staffed. As a result, the VA faces several challenges in providing quick and effective treatment for veterans who need it most.

Needless to say, it is ironic that a nation that honors its patriots with two national holidays cannot seem to muster the support to provide basic necessities for the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the preservation of our dear nation. Our wounded warriors deserve better treatment than each of us. Sadly, this is not the case. Not even close.

In spite of the consistent increases we see in our national defense budget, we have continued to witness an embarrassingly limited amount of dollars designated to support our fearless soldiers following their service. A recent CNN investigation into the VA determined that our brave men and women in uniform “continue to wait months for care at some VA facilities.” The investigation also noted that “a federally funded report prepared for the VA released in September concluded the agency remains ‘plagued’ by problems including growing bureaucracy, staffing challenges and unsustainable costs.”

This Memorial Day, I pray each of us take a moment of silence to honor our fallen heroes. Moving forward, let us begin the work of restoring our commitment to our patriots who have sacrificed everything. Let us work together to assist them in obtaining meaningful employment and treating their mental and physical battle wounds to the highest degree.

Our nation will continue to be in a constant state of hypocrisy if we celebrate our veterans on two national holidays without doing more to ensure that our homeless, unemployed and medically impaired patriots receive care. I hope you will stand with me in urging our government to do more to assist the brave men and women who made tremendous sacrifices for our dear nation.

A native of Pacifica, Jonathan Madison worked as professional policy staff for the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Financial Services, from 2011-2013. Jonathan is Lead Partner at the The Madison Firm. He can be reached via email at jmadison@themadisonfirm.com.

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(9) comments

aball52

Thank you so much for your kind share.as the wife of a Purple Heart Vietnam vet USMC I carry the same respect as I watch his eyes see another vet that stands up with the conversation "Where were You?" I t always makes me swell with pride as they have earned their spots in History plus not feeling entitlements to any flags besides our own..AS the granddaughter of a citizen responsible for building a runway airport to train the Royal Air Force in Americus Georgia by our then named Air Corps England was bombed so the RAF trained here in the States My grandmother and mother opened their homes to house these soldiers . I have sterling bread abd butter plates with Lieutenents named thanking my grandmother. for housing for these soldiers so the town opened their homes. One lost a child so my grandfarther buried him on our family plot .England sent a contingency and approved the baby's grave..My sister was in trouble swinging from the dining room chandalier and the soldiers got our bedrooms. Now that is Memorial Day tributes in all their sincerity and pride in our country I just read Sumter field celebrated 100 years naming my grandfather as one of the citizens responsible for building that airport. !945 1968 our pride never falters God bBess the USA. Thank You!

Ray Fowler

Thanks, Jonathan...

for a much needed reminder. The sacrifices of those who went into harm's way to protect us deserve more than just two calendar days of remembrance. They have laid down their lives for us (John 15:13). And for those who return broken in mind or body, it is our obligation to serve them (Philippians 2:4).

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Mr. Fowler,

While at the pool this morning, a flight of F22 Raptors flew overhead. It caused my grandson to feel of one of the more masculine lines from the movie, Topgun.

Ray Fowler

Wilfredo... aloha!

As a retired Navy pilot, there is a special place in my heart for aviators. I have pushed aside the inter-service rivalry between Navy, Marine, Air Force and Army pilots. I will say this... you cannot find any better tactical pilots in the world than those in the USAF.

One of the last old school war films was "Midway" released in 1976. It is with no small sense of pride that I say Naval Aviation stopped the Midway invasion in 1942.

I've gotta tell ya... I saw "Midway" 45 years ago in a theater that was configured with huge speakers... they were the size of Volkswagens. The first scenes are lifted out of the 1944 classic "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo." When the Army pilots start those B-25s and you hear the starters cranking before the engines light up... it's LOUD. Then because of those huge speakers, when the pilots rev the engines, you can feel the prop blast as the RPMs change. The effect was "stirring." On the bombing run, you could feel the blast waves.

The Doolittle Raid did little actual damage but it buoyed American spirits. Although all 16 planes either ditched or crashed (one crash-landed), 69 of the 80 airmen survived the raid. Three KIA... eight captured. Only four of the eight POWs were liberated... four others died in POW camps. The last Doolittle Raid survivor, LTCOL Richard Cole, passed away two years ago at age 103.

Those men were brave and they believed they had to stand up and tell authoritarian regimes... No, not on my watch! The young men and women lugging M16s and M4s across the Middle East are cut of the same cloth. They have earned our gratitude many times over.

Tafhdyd

Mr. Madison,

It is truly unfortunate that we have to be reminded of the suffering our Veterans have to endure after the sacrifices they have made to serve and protect our country. Another irony is the fact that with the modern advances in medicine and the advances in field medicine and rescue operations and equipment of the military, more soldiers need our help. In previous wars like WWII, Korea or Viet Nam, many of the injured died on foreign soil and did not have the chance at recovery that they do now.

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Tafhdyd,

I saw some stats indicating Americans spend more on their pets than medical care for veterans. I don't have any pets and contribute, monthly, to two Veteran charities and St. Jude. Everyone has their values, don't they?

Tafhdyd

Good afternoon Wilfred,

I wouldn't doubt for a minute that pets get more than vets. I know of people that spend more on their pets then they do on their own kids. I thought I would take a quick look and see what was on the web about pet spending and the first article has a link below. 15 Insightful pet spending statistics.

https://fortunly.com/statistics/pet-spending-statistics/#gref

Wilfred Fernandez Jr

Garcias amigo.

wlydecker

Memorial Day was once called Decoration Day in order to recall the sacrifices of the Civil War. There is a blood debt that should be part of any news story about reparations,

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