Friday, November 12, 2010

VETERANS DAY 2010 (A WCHL Commentary)

As I went through our Sunday newspaper, I can’t say that I was surprised to see the ads encouraging us to take advantage of Veterans Day specials. I guess the best time to buy a mattress is November the 11th or on the holiday often confused with Veterans Day, May’s Memorial Day. Is this the best we can do?

Our County has a program on Wednesday the 10th at 10am in Hillsborough and the UNC ROTC units will have a ceremony at 11 o’clock on Thursday, and that's great. We have about 22 million veterans in the US and about 1.5 million are women. In North Carolina, we have nearly 800,000 and almost 8,000 in Orange County. If you add all of the VA payments and retirement checks from the Department of Defense paid in North Carolina, it’s amount one-fourth of the state’s total budget. This is all to say that veterans are a real presence in our state. But are we supporting them?

Many of our veterans have health issues; many need jobs and it’s estimated that some 23% of our homeless are veterans. Because of our two current wars, we are continuously adding veterans with severe disabilities. Many businesses are aggressively advertising s their support of veterans on Veterans Day, offering meals and other services. But what else can we do? A simple “thank you for your service to our nation” goes a long way, but what’s needed more is for citizens to hold their elected officials accountable for what is done to support veterans, and especially for those in great need.

Remember, a veteran is someone, who at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to, and including, their life. I am honored to be a veteran. Happy Veterans Day!

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