What’s the best way to honor returning veterans? Eric Ringham March 1, 2012, 5:00 AM Mar 1, 2012 21 Cities around the country have been staging homecoming parades for returning veterans. Today’s Question: What’s the best way to honor returning veterans? ‹ Older Could a person of average means ever become president? Newer › What item in your family’s budget is causing you the most distress? Browse by category Education Health Economy Politics/Government Culture Religion/Ethics Science/Technology Transportation Race/Gender Environment/Energy Security International affairs Immigration Media Military About the blogger Eric Ringham firstname.lastname@example.org John End all wars and conflicts; close all of the bases around the globe and bring his/her friends home. Gary F Thank them and their family personally. As when their loved one was deployed, offer to help babysit, mow lawns, shovel snow, shop for them, etc. Be there for them when they need it. Help them network if they are in need of a job. Scott Veterans get more honor and respect than anyone alse Returning veterans do have a distracted nation’s gratitude. But gratitude alone never paid a bill. Rachael @John “Only the dead have seen the end of war”. Plato John While the VA tries to help, it does go overboard. VA advice to retiring, uninjured military personnel is: file for a disability compensation claim anyway. Stress, hearing loss, need for reading glasses at age 45 … surely you too can soak the taxpayer for an additional 10 or 30 percent disability on top of your pension. I was shocked to be told all this last summer; and, it appears I may be in a very small minority of retiring uniformed types who are not filing for “disability.” Factor THAT into long-term debt issues! D. Sherman @ John There’s definitely truth in that, and the politicians who like to use disabled veterans as political stepping stones never mention it. On the other hand, if there’s anything that gives a guy a justifiable reason to feel a sense of entitlement, being shot at for the government has to be near the top of the list. Any short-term solution in terms of cutting off promised benefits, even if the promises ended up being excessive, would be morally wrong. Also, probably for every two vets working hard to game the system and get benefits for injuries that weren’t really service-related, there is at least one who is so far out of the system, living under a bridge or in a trailer in the woods as far as possible from everyone, who isn’t using any benefits at all despite being legitimately entitled to them. Looking at veterans benefits as a budgetary issue is a lot like looking at the proverbial “welfare mothers” who allegedly just have babies as fast as possible in order to increase their welfare checks. Yes, there probably are a few, but no they really aren’t what’s breaking the budget. The best way to avoid paying out so much in veterans’ benefits is to avoid having so many veterans, which means having a smaller military force and fewer wars. Do you think we could manage that? Wouldn’t it be sufficient to merely have the largest and most deadly military force in the known history of the universe? Is it really necessary for it to be several times larger and more deadly than the next several forces combined, most of which belong to our friends? Surely there’s a point at which we can say “this is enough”, isn’t there? Larry M. Make sure that the VA debriefs returning soldiers with physical and psychological healthcare and screenings to help them be successful in their re-integration into society with an emphasis on diagnosis of post traumatic stress syndrome and brain injuries. Jim G I volunteer to read books with primary aged kids at a local school. After reading two chapters of Charlotte’s Web last week, I told a 3rd grade girl that she could tell her family that she had done a great job reading with Mr. G. today. ” My brother was in the war and died. I can’t tell him.”, she said without any prompting on my part. I was dumbstruck and could only mutter, “I’m sorry, Honey.” She quickly picked up her books and went on with her life. I will honor her big brother, who didn’t come home by reading with his little sister one day a week. Rich God bless you Jim. Robert Moffitt A job would be nice. I landed a job as soon as I left the Army. I consider that very fortunate, and it helped to launch my career. Jim G How about giving our returning veterans, especially those wounded in our unending wars, FREE HOUSES. The big banks could donate their inventory of foreclosed homes. We could have a lottery in the Dome and all veterans would be invited. Seems only fair that those who fight for capitalism, benefit from the chaos on Wall Street instead of the those who have benefited, and we know who they are. Lawrence Boy, that’s a toughie. According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs’ website, Veterans Day, celebrated on November 11 of each calendar year is supposed to be the day we Americans have a national celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. Even though we’ve had soldiers returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’m not aware of a large national speech or reflection of them on that day. Maybe it happened, but I don’t remember it. The more celebrated Memorial Day, according to another US gov website is supposed to be the day Americans remember those who died while serving this country. Yet, over the years, that day has simultaneously come to symbolize the coming of summer in addition to an ode to the fallen in battle. Although we may debate about whether the troops should or shouldn’t have gone to the Middle East, the troops themselves had little choice in the matter; thus, it would seem appropriate to give them a large measure of respect and gratitude. Philip Try this on for size: stop asking us questions about the conflict, where your only agenda is to reinforce your own beliefs and arguments and then use them to say what a dirt bag so and so is. It would be awfully cool if people could simply listen. Zak Carter I’m an Iraq veteran of OIF 1 – How about we stop creating veterans of foreign wars? That would be a fitting way to honor my brothers and sisters and I. Until we’ve stopped all the wars we’re currently engaged in and brought all of our troops home from all over the planet, it seems very premature to have any kind of welcome home celebration when we can’t all take part in it. It’s way past time we stop trying to fix the rest of the world and pay a bit of attention to things here at home – we’re 16 trillion dollars in debt and we can’t afford the status quo much longer. Please interview Adam Kokesh, he’s a Marine Corps veteran of Iraq and a spokesman of the Veterans for Ron Paul. http://www.facebook.com/#!/VetsforRonPaul?sk=info Adam along with fellow veteran Nathan Cox organized a military/veterans march on Washington D.C. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMpIP8KEJc8 and is planning a similar though bigger march on the RNC this August http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=choTc5sB-7E Steve the Cynic I served in the military at a time when America was not at war (unless you count the Cold War). When I signed up, I knew there was a chance I could be sent to fight, but I never was. I have nothing but respect for people who signed up knowing it was a virtual certainty they would be deployed. We should honor their sacrifice by vowing never to send any more young people to fight for any cause that is not worthy of such valor. No more Vietnams! No more Iraqs! And if we ever do anything like the Afghanistan operation again, let’s not take our eye off the ball like we did in ’03. GregX Treat them like individuals. They are not exact clones of each other with exactly the same experiences, feelings and lasting perceptions. sometimes … they hated the organization, places, people and work. sometimes they loved it. Most of the time it was some a darn weird mix of boring and monotonous beauracracy in a dynamically changing environment where it wan’t about right and wrong, it was about don’t get hurt, don’t be stupid, don’t get blamed. It was rarely clear or simple. Back home, they might prefer just being the neighbor and not the “vet”. quit projecting your hero-worship or warrior-murderer roles on them. It just aint that simple. James Legalize Cannabis and MDMA. Let’s all have a homecoming for good. Mike The nation employs its war-fighters, they pay their salaries and help them feed their families. Many are not paid the value of what they give. Be that as it may, while our fighting men and women voluntarily take the job, this is enough in my view. But the Question asks about honor and dignity. I answer as such. Only send them to fight wars that require honor and dignity. If their blood and mental well being, and the happiness and stability of their families, isn’t truly required to be sacrificed for the security of our nation, then don’t send them to fight. They will go where the citizens tell them to go. For good reason or otherwise. Our fighting men and women are the stick in the hand of our citizens, they are not the hand that swings them. If you want to rise to the occasion, think before you swing. The citizenry cannot, and should not be allowed, to assuage its guilt from a bad decision with a bumper sticker or a cute letter. Make good decisions if you want to help those you send into hell. Jessica E When you’re done thanking my dad (who suffered through Vietnam, skin cancer, and decades with untreated/denied PTSD), please realize (at some point in the lead up to the next war) that I grew up without him. Please begin to see the big, lasting picture (on both so-called sides)… the one that stretches on for generations to come. Be honest. Truly question what is motivating the man who wants war. Lorraine Give them all honorary membership to MAPS and immediate benefits therein. MAPS’ mission is (1) to treat conditions for which conventional medicines provide limited relief—such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pain, drug dependence, anxiety and depression associated with end-of-life issues—by developing psychedelics and marijuana into prescription medicines; (2) to treat many thousands of people by building a network of clinics where treatments can be provided; and (3) to educate the public honestly about the risks and benefits of psychedelics and marijuana. http://www.maps.org/ F K City-wide picnic celebration.