Today is Memorial Day, a holiday devoted to honoring the men and women who died serving in the United States’ Armed Forces.
All told, there have been 1.35 million Americans killed during our nation’s many wars and armed conflicts. That is, by all means, a lot. However, the Battle of Stalingrad alone claimed more lives in World War II.
It has been 239 years since shots rang out in Lexington and Concord. The United States military has been in some sort of armed conflict for 222 of those years.
And in all those conflicts, not only did we have exceptional fighters, but we had exceptional nurses and doctors to care for the wounded.
For example, in World War II, there were almost 60,000 women who served in the US Army Nurse Corps. In contrast, the Soviet Union’s strategy for defeating German tanks was to immobilize them by literally throwing soldiers’ bodies into the tank treads.
This commitment to protecting human life has always set us aside. When it came to healing Americans, and even enemy soldiers, we have always done whatever it takes to get the job done. That is, until now.
In a perfect world, there would never be another soldier honored on Memorial Day. But that isn’t realistic. There will always be casualties in war.
Today, all across the country, ceremonies will read off the names of the soldiers killed fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The War on Terror has claimed 6,717 soldiers so far.
That comes out to 1.57 deaths per day.
Here’s the problem. Right now, we are facing a suicide epidemic. Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide. Their names won’t be read at any ceremonies or parades today because they weren’t killed in battle.
You’re probably wondering how this could possibly happen. Instead of actually fixing the problems at the VA and removing the terrible employees and bureaucrats, Congress’ solution is to just throw money at the problem.
For example, a new VA hospital is being built in Denver, Colorado. Its original budget was around $300 million. Well, after ten years of planning and construction, the project is $1 BILLION over budget because of mismanagement. Not only that, but Congress just threw another $100 million at the project to keep the construction workers from walking off the job.
This is what Congress does… throw money at problems and hope they go away.
Last year, news broke that VA employees were deliberately refusing to see patients. They put the veterans on secret waiting lists where they were literally left to die waiting for a doctor.
It’s been a year since VA Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned. Do you know how many people have been fired since then? One person. That’s it.
So on this Memorial Day, I ask that you honor the fallen. They made the ultimate sacrifice and for that, a nation is eternally grateful.
However, our commitment has to be to the veterans still living. A commitment to ensuring that no more veterans needlessly die from the wounds, both mental and physical, sustained on the battlefield.
I ask that you take this time to reach out and demand that Congress do more. Just this week, John Boehner came out gave a news conference blasting the VA. Talk is cheap. We’ve been hearing this talk for well over a year. Enough is enough!