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Veteran's Day Moved Up One Week


By Kim Miller - Posted on 14 October 2008

Veteran's Day - the day set aside to honor those who have served our country by protecting us overseas and at home - is recognized every November 11th.  This year, Veteran's Day will come a week early for me.  I'm observing the day on November 4th with my vote for Sen. Barack Obama for President of the United States, and Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces.

Allow me to introduce you to my dad.  (He's the guy on the right.... the guy with the mischievous grin.) During WWII, Dad joined the United States Navy - a young man eager to defend the country he so loved.  Not long after he joined, another young sailor contracted scarlet fever; a Navy doctor quarantined the infected sailor along with his fellow sailors.  As a result, Dad (and I'm sure most or all of the others in quarantine) suffered rheumatic fever.  Ironically, Dad never fought for his country, but he spent the next quarter-century fighting the Veterans Administration to be qualified as a disabled vet to receive benefits; he struggled against a damaged heart the rest of his life.  He underwent open-heart surgery in 1974 to replace one of his valves, and died two years later as a result of his heart condition.  He was 49 years old; I was fourteen.

During the years he fought for his VA disability he wasn't fighting selfishly - he was fighting for his wife and kids as well.  One victory was college benefits for his children.  Not a day went by that Mom or Dad didn't remind me that I was college-bound.  Dad didn't live to see me graduate from high school, but I felt his presence the day I registered for my first semester of college.  I was petrified when I registered for the first semester of calculus, but I found his old college calculus textbook.  For inspiration, I'd read his notes in the margins when I was stuck on a problem from my own text. I earned an A in that class.  Then I earned a Bachelors degree, then a Masters.

A soldier should never fight in war only to return home to more fights.  I believe that Barack Obama is the person to ensure they are not forgotten.  I honor Sen. McCain's service to this country just as much as I honor the service of all other veterans, but on voting records Sen. Obama has proven great sincerity in protecting the rights of vets. In his work in Illinois, and his work in the United States Senate (including service on the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs), Barack Obama has fought for -- and voted to -- protect veterans and their families.

  • He fought for legislation to improve care and slash red tape for wounded soldiers recovering at facilities such as Walter Reed
  • He passed laws to help homeless veterans
  • He offered an innovative solution to prevent at-risk veterans from falling into homelessness
  • He fought for fair treatment of Illinois veterans' claims and forced the VA to conduct an unprecedented outreach campaign to disabled veterans with lower-than-average benefits
  • He passed legislation to stop a VA review of closed PTSD cases that could have led to reduced veterans' benefits
  • He led a bipartisan effort in the Senate to protect veterans from the military's unfair practice of discharging service members for having service-related psychological injury
  • He passed an amendment ensuring that all Iraq War vets are properly screened for traumatic brain injuries
  • He introduced legislation to direct the VA and the Pentagon to fix disjointed records systems

These are just a few of his accomplishments in protecting veterans. McCain's voting record on veterans' issues, on the other hand, is shockingly inadequate. He opposed the 21st Century G.I. Bill. The VA paid for McCain's college education, just like it paid for mine.  But when given the opportunity to vote for veterans' college benefits as a Senator, he voted against it. He was one of only 13 Republicans who voted against additional funding for VA healthcare clinics. He voted against increases in veterans' healthcare funding in '04, '05, '06, and '07.  He voted for disabled veterans only 25% of the time. 

My dad entered the Navy with a healthy heart; he left the Navy with a damaged one that stopped beating before his 50th birthday... before his youngest daughter's high school graduation.  Am I looking for a President who cares about disabled vets?  Hell yes.  Do I show my love of country by wrapping myself in the flag? No, I'll just thank a veteran instead.

 

Thank you for sharing your story - amazing!

Also, good information in red.

Yes, Sen. Obama is best for our country.

Thanks Kim!  You made me think about my dad who, like yours, was a WWII vet.  Like other American vets who were of Japanese descent, my Dad was a member of the 442nd infantry.  He wasn't able to do much fighting for, soon after he stepped onto the shores of Italy, he was hit by shrapnel and his right leg was badly wounded.  He had about 8 surgeries on his knee before it was decided to make it permanently immobile.  He never walked normally again.  Though I was never able to share in all the things that most boys did with their fathers like play catch (he had arthritis) or run with him in the park, I still loved him so and was very, very proud of him especially after he showed me the medals (the relatively few there were) he earned after asking him what was in those small boxes tucked away in the back of the dining room shelf.  He was buying American long before it became fashionable to do so.  He died in July in 2001 and it turned out to be a fortunate thing since he did not live to see the horrific events of 9/11.  Because of my dad, veterans' issues are so very important to me.  The election of John McCain, IMHO, would be one of the worse things that could ever happen to our vets.  I believe that Obama will do right for all those who bravely served our country.  When I go to the polls in November, I will also be thinking of my Dad. -- Matt

Thanks for sharing your story! You would think Mr. POW (McCain) would jump at every opportunity to better our vets. IMO I think this is a way to show that McCain is for nothing but himself....That was also good info on Obama! Im sure your dad is proud of you!!! ***hugs***

YES WE CAN!

Great blog! I am forwarding this to all veterans that I know.

______________________

RFO Outreach Coordinator

The enemy of "the best" is not "the worst." The enemy of "the best" is "good enough."

Thank you!  That's the biggest compliment I could receive.  I hope others do, too. 

Kim/KJS

The problems we face will not be solved by the minds that created them.

Very inspiring blog.   My dad was a WWII Navy veteran as well. Your dad's picture reminds me of the pictures my dad had of that time.

Thanks so much for posting!

What a wonderful story!  It's true that being a veteran is not the same thing as being there for veterans!

Kim,

Thank you for sharing such a personal story! 

I sit here with tears in my eyes and a huge lump in my throat after reading it.  I obviously didn't have the honor of knowing your dad, but I honestly believe that he would be so proud of you for taking a stand for ALL of the veterans in the United States. 

I stand to applaud you, your post AND your dad.

Thank you, Lesley. And thank all of you for the kind words.

I've heard and read so many lists of Obama and McCain voting records, but I felt it really doesn't hit you until it becomes a personal story.

BTW: my dad was a blue-dog Dem, and if he were alive he'd be shouting Obama/Biden from rooftops! 

Kim/KJS

The problems we face will not be solved by the minds that created them.

Kim, your post is one of the most inspiring and heartfelt stories I think I've ever read.  *with tears*

Thank you for contrasting the records of McCain and Obama in a way that is so unquestionable.  The majority of veterans I know, both young and old, active and otherwise, are voting for Obama (and not voting for McCain) for the very reasons you state.

On a side note:  My heart is very must with you.  I lost my dad too before I graduated from college.  It was a bittersweet day for me because of it, but I know he was with me.  You may have read in other comments on the board from me that my dad died as a direct/indirect result of a poorly funded VA (he was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome and had lung cancer.)  I wlll be starting work on my masters degree soon as a community counselor.  Once I'm licensed, I plan on part of my time being spent on pro bono work for veterans with PTSD.  

I'm sure that on Novembe 4th, your dad will be there with you, smiling that mischievious grin when you pull the lever.  :)

Thanks, Ellen.  Yes, I'll be grinning the same grin when I punch the button for Obama/Biden.

I can tell that you understand the drive in your heart when you are watched over by someone so special.  Now, go vote, and then go do your homework, young lady! 

Kim/KJS 

The problems we face will not be solved by the minds that created them.

there are many vets who have come home to die homeless and disabled on american soil.

and many vets who STILL are not getting basic access to health/psyche care and shelter. 

 McCAIN TELLS US TO TIGHTEN OUR BELTS ( EASY CASUE WE ARE HUNGRY) BUT HE COLLECTS A 6K TAX FREE VET CHECK AND AN SSA CHECK whilke knowing not even the inventory of his many homes  reporting over 4 mill in  income (filing seperate0 this year alone.

honor? he would have, as other now wealthy vets do, donated these checks to  help vets less fortunate than himself.

a broke country but he gets his .

This is me first - not country first !

 

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