Tuesday, November 11, 2008

One day a year

While the Chimp was dishonoring Veterans by his very mention of them, and what is it with him and aircraft carriers anyway, Nancy Pelosi got out among 'em.

Speaker Pelosi obviously enjoying her Veterans Day goose


Old habits die hard.

In a small room at the San Francisco Veterans Administration Medical Center on Monday, a dozen old soldiers sat in wheelchairs to one side of the podium. It took awhile to get everyone situated, and politicians to talk. But these guys learned the finer points of "hurry up and wait" a long time ago.

There was a time when every city and small town had a rousing Veterans Day parade. But times have changed and the all-volunteer military more than three decades ago has meant fewer Americans have worn a uniform. San Francisco held a sparsely attended parade on Sunday. On Monday, about 100 people crowded into a small auditorium at the VA Medical Center in the Richmond District to pay tribute to all veterans, but more specifically to those suffering various illnesses requiring treatment at the center.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, thanked the veterans for their sacrifice and vowed to bring legislation in Washington to provide more help to veterans.

"There's a saying among the troops that you leave no man behind," Pelosi said. "We aim to make that, leave no veteran behind, either."

O'Neal was happy with the moment. It's good that the politicians come out and say thank you, he said. But it's just one day and when it's over, the veterans will be left to themselves again.

Yep. Same ol', same ol'...

Pelosi, who has fought for more and better benefits for veterans, said she hopes to support legislation soon to help veterans get jobs and help start reinvigorating the economy in the way that returning troops after World War II helped society.

She said helping veterans is the highest calling for a public servant. She recalled words of the address given by Abraham Lincoln at his second inauguration: "Let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan - to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

We've come a long way since amputation and morphine were the Veterans' only 'benefits', but there's a hell of a lot more that needs to be done in the aftermath of Bush's War for decades to come. I'll believe it when I see it.

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