Monday, May 30, 2016

Memorial Day A Tale Of Two Places

For vets, today is the best of times in some places and the worst of times in other places
For military cemeteries a time of speeches, planting of flags and flowers, a time to honor but in the VA a total disgrace
Parades for those in uniform buffeted by loud cheers and applause
Flags waving and chants of “U.S.A., U.S.A.” without pause
A president at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier paying homage to those in the War on Terror who have died
Who for love of country multiple deployments the Roulette Wheel of Death the odds one too many times tried to defy
Young men and women throughout our history whose lives were cut short
 Despite the best efforts of Kevlar, medics and docs from shrapnel, IEDs and bullets were not immune
Obama spoke of the need to give our men and women in uniform the best care and to meet their needs
So said what happens when that vet is mustered out and the uniform is shed and why the cries for care the VA no longer heeds?
The vets at Arlington will not rise up to walk this Earth
Never to hold a spouse or child or to rejoice in a child’s playful mirth
Their survivors on this day have solace in their memories and the well tended cemetery monuments and lawns
Save for those who have watched a loved one who died waiting for care and will never see another dawn
For the vets whose proud uniforms have been shed
Obama’s lofty words seem hollow instead
Those vets have become invisible, homeless full of the sense of abandonment and despair
With bodies, emotions and minds wounded in too many cases beyond repair
5 to 8,000 vets yearly are choosing the option of suicide
When it comes to solving the wait list problem the VA has barely tried
If a nation is to be judged, judge it by its treatment of its wounded and retired vets
Those men and women to whom as a nation we owe a tremendous debt.
 © May 30, 2016, Michael P. Ridley aka the Alaskanpoet 
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Perfect Gift, All Recipients to Receive a Lasting Lift

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