As a whole, whether we realize it or not, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans have it pretty good. We have the respect of our peers. We came home to parades - not empy airports and apathy. We have the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. We have social media - the ability to find others like us all over the country...
I could keep on going. In a nutshell, we have it really good. I am not saying it's perfect. Far from it. The VA is understaffed, overworked, and underfunded. We have a huge number of veterans seeking aid and not enough resources to help them all. Despite all of this, conditions like PTSD are recognized as serious issues. The focus in Washington (and around the country) is on how we can help the returning warfighters and veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Very little has been said and very little gratitude shown to those who came before us. Vietnam Veterans, Korean War Veterans, and even the children of WWII Vets brought many of these issues to light. It has been their sacrifices, their suffering that originally put the spotlight on a broken system and inadequate support for veterans.
They still need our support and should not be left out of the equation when we consider how veterans' services get shaped moving forward. NONE of our vets should feel forgotten or less than. And that's what is already happening. All of the perks veterans of current wars have that are not available to veterans from other eras has already started to foster resentment from those who came before us. We need to provide services for veterans equally or not at all. All veterans issues should be addressed - not just those who happen to have strong advocacy in Washington. It is our responsibility as veterans and Americans to ensure that all veterans have a voice, especially those who can't speak for themselves.
Let's make sure the people making the decisions never forget that.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.