Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance Day 2007

I think we likely all agree that those who serve in the military deserve to be 'honoured' for their sacrifices. But maybe we don't always understand that that means we must ensure that they receive all the health care and other social supports they might need for however long they need it. Maybe we forget that they have left behind families in need of housing, comfort and care.

Today 1 out of every 4 homeless men in the US is a veteran (there are, as yet, no stats on homeless female veterans).

In 2004 there were 1.8 million veterans and their families (another 3.8 million people) without medical coverage in the US.

In Canada most veterans are not in that kind of trouble yet, but the situation is worsening.

Rightly or wrongly our military men and women have been sent by our government into danger. They go because they believe it is their duty. They go because they believe they and their families will be taken good care of whatever happens.

Unfortunately our government doesn't reciprocate that same sense of duty.

Today a new ombudsman begins his job fighting for the care and attention veterans and their families need. He says he is expecting 5,000 complaints a year. That's a lot of people having problems with their government after having served their country dutifully. That's a lot of families left high and dry after losing a loved one.

I don't support our role in Afghanistan. I don't believe in the Arctic sovereignty military build-up or in our government's attempts to militarize us, to restrict our freedoms, to make us afraid of the rest of the people on this earth and to destroy our environment to supply the military and fill the pockets of the already overly rich and greedy bankers and corporate executives.

But I do believe that our rank and file military folk do what they do out of a sense of duty to their country and their fellow citizens.

They and their families deserve our support. We are all going to have to be alert and help wherever we can. As long as we have a government that simply does whatever the US tells it to do we will have to stand up for people in trouble and that includes veterans.

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