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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Memorial Day 2014 - Remembering, and hopefully helping, U.S. Veterans

On yesterday the nation, once again, took a day to remember its veterans who lost their lives serving their country.  Amid the wreath laying, motorcycles roaring, flags waving, and parades, the fact remains that the country's surviving veterans need help, and the institutions put in place to assist them, are shrouded in incompetency and bureaucracy.

Last year, we spoke to two individuals who are products of the United States armed forces as they told us stories of their families and loved ones who served, and their struggles with the Veterans Administration office to get the services they desperately need.

Outside the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington, DC on a cold February day, our interviewee had this message for the Department of Veteran Affairs, and President Obama.

"Help the veterans, because they deserve it more than anybody else in this country."

The VA has come under fire (again) for its mismanagement of veterans' cases leaving some vets waiting years before any medical assistance is provided.  Many veterans died waiting for care.  This uproar has called for the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shenseki, who just this past weekend stated that veterans could have been getting the care the needed under "non-VA care", which would allow them to seek physician care by non-VA medical personnel.

An idea that has been a long time coming, and announced, to wait-listed veterans.

"It's time", said Republican representative Ann Wagner, and others, who support the idea of veterans being able to go any US medical center for care after a thirty-day wait period.

Over the Memorial Day holiday President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to visit the remaining service men and women in the region.   The administration plans to withdraw all troops by the end of 2016.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's Joining Forces initiative has worked to help veterans find jobs upon returning to home to civilian life.

"Over that century and a half, in times of war, in times of peace, Americans have come here -- to pay tribute not only to the loved ones who meant the world to them, but to all our heroes, known and unknown.  Here, in perfect military order, lie the patriots who won our freedom and saved the Union.  Here, side-by-side, lie the privates and the generals who defeated fascism and laid the foundation for an American Century.  Here lie the Americans who fought through Vietnam, and those who won a long twilight struggle against communism.  And here, in Section 60, lie men and women who gave their lives to keep our homeland safe over more than a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan." --- President Barack Obama (Arlington National Cemetery, Memorial Day 2014)

Note:  Enter 'veterans' in our search engine at the top of this page for more of our stories on

[Update** 5/30/23014**] Shinseki resigns -
Shinseki meet with President Obama earlier today (May 30, 2014) in a closed meeting. Moments later the president made the announcement in the James Brady briefing room. More firings are expected, as the president said earlier in the week that if there was any misconduct found, it would be dealt with.

"I regret he [Shinseki] has to resign under these circumstances," said President Obama. "It is with considerable regret that I accepted."  Adding, "Our veterans deserve the best."

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