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Tell It Like It Is

Younger Veterans Still Have Battles To Fight

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Thomas Segel is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or
August 16, 2011 | 1,393 views | 1 comment

Harlingen, Texas, August 12, 2011: Congressional support for our nation’s veterans and retired military personnel is becoming weaker with almost every election. Fewer and fewer members of Congress can boast records of military service. Where once a large segment of that body proudly ran for public office displaying military credentials, few who now campaign for office can identify themselves as having proudly worn the uniform of our country.

Many members of the military community have lamented that our younger veterans, those who fought in Iraq or Afghanistan, have been absent from engagement in our political process once they return home and remove their uniforms. In truth, it is clear that the newer veterans are seldom participants in any public function. Once they have returned from answering the nation’s call to arms, they seem reluctant to answer any other appeal to serve.

Within the congregation of my own church, those who had served in the military used to be called forward and honored during significant national holidays. Veterans used to fill the front of the sanctuary. Today, the veterans only stand at their pews to be recognized and the numbers are sadly diminished. Most noticeable is young veterans are not found standing with that group of old heroes.
I cannot think of a single younger veteran who is a member of our Rotary. The younger veterans also seem reluctant to associate themselves with organizations such as the American Legion or the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Basically, they shy away from most group organizations. They just are not joiners.

Very few of these veterans can be identified as prominent or identifiable journalists or broadcasters. Once there was an abundance of former service members within the ranks of the media. Today they are missing from the ranks of supportive military writers.

Much of this can be attributed to the current military policy of embedding civilian media personnel within the ranks of active duty units. All too often these writers and broadcasters come to those units with the bias or prejudice of their employer media outlet. Still, they are given preference over the military correspondent. In past conflicts correspondents wearing their country’s uniform provided substantial coverage of military actions and operations. Those writers and photographers honed their craft while serving under arms and carried those skills with them into the civilian media markets where they found employment. Few are making such transitions today.

If this country is maintain a strong defense it will require everyone who bares the name veteran to constantly hold watchful vigil over those in Washington who control the nation’s purse strings. Veterans and military retirees are always targets of these so-called budget cutters, who view the veteran as expendable and really not a member of their particular voting constituency. These also see the 20 million people who served as a very small number that is not united...and they know that 10 million veterans of that number are more than 65 years of age and won’t be around for many more elections. So, younger veterans are needed to answer the call of their country again.

These veterans are needed in the administration of their towns and cities. They are needed in organizational leadership. They are needed in the classrooms and on the college campuses. They are needed in media and public debate. Most of all we need them in elected office at every level of government. They are the people who know about leadership and accomplishing the mission. They know about organization. They know all those special traits that will allow them to be strong representatives of the American people.

Yes, our younger veterans still have some battles to fight...right here in the United States of America. We hope they will again answer the call.

Semper Fidelis
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Elaine K.  
August 16, 2011 9:08am
New column posted.

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