Sunday, May 30, 2010

Number of veterans in Congress is diminshing

With the end of the draft in 1973, and the all volunteer military the number of vetrans
in Congress is shrinking. Is this a good thing? Should more veterans be in Congress
to help steer the ship?

There are currently only 25 senators who have served in the military, in 1981 there were
73. In the House the percentage of veteran in 1981 was 62 percent and today there is
a total of 94 veterans, a loss of 40 percent.

While it is not necessary to be a veteran to see our point of view, many members are
staunch supporters of the military and veterans. They have fought for a better military,
a stronger VA to support veterans.

But one has to wonder if the lack of veterans in Congress has had an adverse effect. Is
it possible that while a lot of verbiage is thrown out for the public to see; and yet
many projects and objectives are being ignored?

The military is a very large portion of the budget, and it is understood that any
increase in the defense budget takes money from other deserving and needed projects.
But, with wars on two fronts; and the possibility of even more hot spots breaking
out, then we must have a strong and vital military. The best equipment, the strongest
leaders, men and women dedicated and willing to do what ever is necessary to preserve
freedom and our country.

Many veterans, especially those from the Cold War Era are feeling ignored and disrespected. Could this be because of the lack of veterans in Congress? Can a
non-veteran every truly understand the stress, the danger, the long hard truth of
what it takes?

The Veterans Administration for the most part is doing an outstanding job
in caring for veterans. The VA budget is not big enough to provide the needed
care for out veterans. The survival rate of those injured in battle is higher
than ever, thanks to the improved care the wounded receive immediately.

Overworked and understaffed, the VA has its shortfalls, its problems but the
dedicated doctors and nurses do the best they can in most cases.

Yet veterans are turned away every day. Many have to travel long distances to
reach a VA hospital or clinic, and then be told they do not qualify. Or they
may be in the system, have an appointment; and when they arrive are told the
doctor is not there that day.

Would more veterans in Congress make a difference? There is no way to determine
for sure if that would help. One can only wonder and ponder all the what ifs.

The American Cold War Veterans do say thank you to all members of congress for
their service to our country. It is a hard and often thankless task. Not everyone
is up to the challenge.

As in life there are some good and some bad members. There are those who abuse the
power. It is hoped that the American public looks hard at everyone in government,
and takes note of failure to fulfill promises. When the time comes, vote out the
bad and replace them with what we hope will be a better choice.

Perhaps a new political party is needed, one that stands for good and proper governing of our country. One that will help put us back on course and return our country
to its rightful place in the world. A nation we can all be proud of.

A better and stronger United States, with caring and loving individuals; a nation
to be proud of is what we hope for.

Jerald Terwilliger
National Chairman
American Cold War Veterans
"We Remember"