Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Letters to the Editor

June 16, 2014

Veterans deserve better treatment

By now, most Americans are aware of the terrible mess that has been brewing for a long time, as it pertains to the state of affairs at Veteran Administration (VA) Hospitals. It appears that at some of the 26 VA health facilities across the country, our fine, patriotic veterans, who have given so much to America, and its citizens — are now receiving the royal shaft!

The news reports that I have heard imply that some VA hospitals had “secret waiting lists,” and some vets had to wait an inordinately long time to receive an appointment for badly needed health care — months. Some have died waiting to be seen!

This is outrageous and unconscionable, happening in the greatest country on earth. I have become sick and tired of hearing about foreign aid: a million dollars here, a billion there; much of which has been wasted, or unaccounted for. Food donations spoiled, sitting in warehouses. Worst of all, Americans’ tax dollars ending up in the personal treasuries of dictators of countries overseas, cruel despots, etc.

Most Americans do not like what is happening, but our elected leaders seem reluctant to make changes. Perhaps, we should stop foreign aid altogether! Charity begins at home. It’s high time that we consider our own hurting people for a change. And, who are more deserving of our concern, money, good health care, moral support, and encouragement than our precious American veterans!

As a corollary, think of all the vets that are homeless, on American streets. Unemployed. Hungry. Addicted to alcohol or drugs that come about due to extreme pain, from war injuries, or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Perhaps, some of us have gone past some of these valiant heroes on the street. We may or may not have given any thoughts and prayers for them.

Or, did we ever give them any encouragement? Donated as generously as possible to the various veterans’ organizations on their behalf? Talk without actions make us “sounding brass and tinkling cymbals!”

Sometimes in our busy, busy world, we are so caught up in our own selfish little pursuits, that we may fail to pay attention to the hurting ones such as these. Or, we may knock them out of the way so we won’t be late for business meetings, or even church. We have become 21st century hypocrites.

Wake up, friends! The Great Shepherd said: “For as much as you have done it to the least of these my brethren you have done it unto me.”

David L. Gentry

Bluefield

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