Gambone’s introduction gave a nice recap and memory refresher of American military service and veterans pre-WWII. However, something about Severo and Milford’s chapter rubbed me the wrong way. I just felt sort of annoyed reading it. Maybe it was the fact that they put even more focus on Agent Orange. Were all those chapters not enough? I did like how they circled back to Shays, though even that was connected to Agent Orange. They did point out that despite the problems associated with Vietnam veterans, they were treated about the same as any other American veterans, excluding WWII vets (who didn’t have all rainbows and posies themselves).
On the NPR stories, I find the way so many veterans are forced to live to be despicable. One out of four homeless in America are veterans! Iraq veterans are coming home unable to get work, suffering from PTSD. While most people are against the war, I’m pretty sure a lot of them are supportive of the people over there. So why can’t veterans catch a break?
We’ve learned about the many improvements for veterans: Resch’s suffering soldier and public sentiment, pensions for the disabled, soldier’s homes, veteran organizations, veteran’s hospitals, the VA, the GI Bill, and more. These things don’t often seem like such improvements after reading The Wages of War and Born on the Fourth of July and what have you, but compared to the most deprived of American veterans, those of the Revolution, things really are for the better. Just not as good as they should, as they really need to be. If the government doesn’t want to pay for veteran benefits, if the people don’t want to have compassion towards veterans, then America needs to stop creating them.