Veteran’s Day 2013


It was called “Armistice Day” when Pres. Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 11, 1919 as the United States’ version of what other countries called a “Remembrance Day” – a day to remember those members of the armed forces killed during World War I, the misnamed “War to end all wars.”

But unlike in other countries, Armistice Day became a day to remember and honor all American veterans, living and dead, for their service to our country.  Memorial Day was our day to remember and honor those American servicemen/women who gave their lives in the line of duty.  In 1938 an act of Congress made November 11 of each year “Armistice Day” and a legal holiday; and in 1954 the name was officially changed to “Veterans Day.”

Currently there are approximately 23 million living American veterans.  Roughly 1.2 million are World War II vets, although they are dying at the estimated rate of over 600 each day.  Another 2.8 million are Korean War vets.  The largest number of living veterans, approximately 7.8 million, served during the Vietnam War, although veterans of the “Gulf” wars (August 1990 to the present) number more than 5.2 million.  Significantly, an estimated 3 million of those living veterans are receiving compensation for service-connected disabilities.

We’ve been fighting wars for more than a decade, and the cost of providing health care and disability benefits for our veterans continues to climb.  Last year the Dept. of Veterans Affairs spent approximately $48 billion on disability benefits alone, and this year’s costs are expected to hit the $57 billion mark.  That’s four times the $15 billion spent in 2000.

And that number will continue to climb because we’ve made so much progress in treating wounded soldiers that some of the most seriously wounded can now survive – albeit often with a service-connected disability.  Some 630,000+ veterans who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan have full or partial disabilities, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  And those disabilities include traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorders that were either undiagnosed or neglected in earlier generations of veterans.

As a result, the backlog of overdue unprocessed disability claims is about 400,000, down from the 600,000 outstanding unprocessed claims as recently as March of this year.  But hundreds of thousands of new claims continue coming in from veterans who have done their duty to their country.

And we must do ours.

Irrespective of one’s political views about war, we as a country owe those veterans the best care and benefits available as a debt of honor.  As former Wisconsin congressman David Obey stated:

“This country owes them all a debt of gratitude. The down payment on that debt is making sure that we live up to Lincoln’s charge: to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.”

That’s going to mean more money and a more efficient Veterans Administration, just for starters.  And fewer wars would certainly help.  Unfortunately, that can’t and won’t be accomplished today.

But if you know any veterans, you can at least offer a simple “Thank you for your service.”

And then write your congressman and voice your support for making sure all our veterans, and especially those who were injured while in harm’s way, get the help and support they have earned with their blood.

Robert J. Trizna

Editor and publisher 

To read or post comments, click on title.

10 comments so far

A nice sentiment, PW, but your quoting of David Obey is contrary to your 4/27/09 quoting of Davy Crockett in opposing City support of community groups. It sounds like just some more of your situational ethics.

EDITOR’S NOTE: No it isn’t, for at least two significant reasons:

1. The private “charity” against which Crockett spoke was the appropriation of public money for the widow of a veteran who died years after his wartime service, from causes apparently unrelated to that service.

2. The public obligation Obey (and Lincoln) addressed was to the “widow” and children of those killed in battle, which has over the years been lawfully extended through various acts of Congress beyond death to address disabilities resulting from service.

11.11.13 6:53am…just can’t get enough of bringing up those “community groups”, can you?
Old news.. water under the bridge… move on.
They’re surviving without unaccounted for handouts from the City. It must be that people like YOU have stepped up to fill the void, as it should be.
Moooooooove on.

Separately, nice piece here PW. We owe a debt to those who serve and we have not, as a Country, serviced it well in recent years.

Last year when a poster touched on this issue you said the following…..”We agree wholeheartedly. But as we’ve pointed out in previous Editor’s Notes, with a $16 Trillion-and-growing national debt and trillion-dollar deficits, where’s the money coming from?”

Sadly, people love to put their hand over their heart, salute the flag and speak warmly about vets on this day but it goes away very quickly. IT goes away even more quickly when people start to understand what supporting veterans means (and costs). The number of vets waiting to hear from the VA has gone down over the last year but it is still at 400,000 veteran….just waiting for a first call back!! Beyond that, we recently saw the politicians have their little hissy fit fight and not a one even considered what it might mean to the veterans if the government shut down. After words they all ran around doing the CYA game.

Finally, “the help and support they have earned”, covers many areas. Cutting back on food stamps is all the rage these days but do people understand that in any given month there are 900,000 veterans families that rely in the SNAP program.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We see this problem as, like most things governmental, just a matter of basic prioritization…unless, of course, one just wants to keep on growing government, raising taxes and/or increasing the debt that not just our children but our grandchildren will be saddled with.

If 900,000 veterans’ families truly “rely” on the SNAP program (whatever “rely” means in practical terms), give them SNAP priority over non-veteran SNAP recipients because the former earned the priority over the latter by their service. And if you want to restore whatever SNAP benefits the non-veteran recipients were receiving, tax capital gains like earned income; and/or cut subsidies and aid to illegal immigrants; and/or cut subsidies to prosperous corporations (or failing ones, for that matter); and/or….

Thank you for recommending more than lip service be applied to the needs of our veterans. If we ever get that halfway taken care of, maybe we can do the same about our oft-spoken reverence for life, motherhood and the family.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The abortion issue – which is what we infer from your triad as the subject of your comment – was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1973. In the intervening 40 years we have had a more “conservative” Court; we have had “conservative” majorities in the House and the Senate; and we have had “conservative” presidents.” Yet none of them have overturned Roe v. Wade. Consequently, that legal issue seems to be settled, even if the moral one remains debatable.

6:49 note what you just said. You want to honor the people who fight for your liberty, and then legislate away your neighbors liberties.


Great comment! It occurs to me there is a big difference between these two issues.

The one mentioned by the poster (at least) has sides and actual elected officials willing to fight for what ever side they believe is right. There are fairly significant groups of people for whom where you are on this issue is THE reason to vote or not to vote for you.

Can that honestly be said about doing right by veterans?? Has there really been an uproar about cuts to the VA or hundreds of thousands waiting for help? Do people vote or not vote on this issue? Was it even talked about in the last election?

So we had the obligatory niceties yesterday now go ahead and get back to whatever you were doing that was more important.

EDITOR’S NOTE: People do not “vote or not vote on this issue” of veterans benefits because none of our politicians – especially those in Washington – want us to “vote” on them, or even to understand their costs and how those costs are paid for.

Take a look at Sen. Dick Durbin’s fancy veterans-related website – – and you will find this kind of hand-over-heart statement: “Those who have previously served in uniform deserve our deepest gratitude. Beyond gratitude, we, as a nation, have made a promise to our veterans that needs to be kept. While we can never fully repay our veterans for their sacrifices, we must express our appreciation of their service and remain firm in our commitment to their health and well-being.”

You also will find a long list of the benefits Durbin claims he wants the government to provide to veterans and their families. But with a rare exception or two, you won’t find a price tag on any of those benefits, or an identification of the specific program(s) in which he wants to make corresponding cuts in order to fund each of those benefits; or how much extra he wants to tax the American people (and the share to be born by the people of his own state) in order to pay for each of those benefits.

For example, Durbin crows about how he “[s]trengthened VA and DOD services for veterans suffering Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), including $180 million in the fiscal year 2007 supplemental funding bill for TBI and PTSD treatment, staffing, screening, and research.” But he doesn’t say what funding choice(s), if any, he made or advocated in order to free up that $180 million; or whether he wants that $180 million to come from new taxes.

That’s typical of how people like Durbin and his “colleagues” in Washington operate, and that’s one big reason why we’re $17 trillion in debt – and jumping for joy that the FY 2013 deficit was “only” $680 billion instead of the $1 trillion+ that the federal government had been posting each year since 2008, according to a recent Washington Post story:

And that’s the kind of disingenuous dreck we get from the Assistant Majority Leader, the second highest ranking position in the Senate!

Wanting to do the right thing despite the price is what Democraps do. Wanting to keep the money for themselves and cover it by talking piously about how they have a lot of right feelings, is what Repugs do. R’s are “by faith alone are ye saved” and D’s are “faith without works is dead.”
And yeah, works cost money, now and then. And I don’t know where you got the abortion issue from what I said about our so-called reverence for life and motherhood. For all you know I think we should move heaven and earth, financially, to take care of them. But BTW, Roe v. Wade is in danger; not by miles, but by inches. Ask any non-rich woman in a Red state. Effectively abolishing it without literally abolishing it was their plan, and we should all be half as successful.

EDITOR’S NOTE: 95-99% of Dems and Reps are opposite sides of the same counterfeit coin, each putting party and personality above country while their respective parties try to divide the country into the largest number of the narrowest special interest groups it can to maximize its control.

Re Roe v. Wade, stop chanelling Mehroz Baig in Huffpost.

4:17 (previously 6:49)
“life, motherhood, and the family”? If that isn’t a comment re: abortion and gay marriage, then what exactly were you saying?
Liberty shouldn’t be an “issue”. It’s a right guaranteed by the constitution and it ends “for all.” So the only “difference” is some people not “getting” that. And throwing in a comment wholly unrelated to what this post is about (as 6:49 did) is stupid and needs to be called out.

“And I don’t know where you got the abortion issue from what I said about our so-called reverence for life and motherhood”.

Four words….Give…me…a…break!! Actually make it five words. Insert the word freakin’.

about 52% of the population is female; 75% of the poor in the world are female, and 99% of child care for the next generation of both genders is done by females. Other than that, no reason to be concerned about this “marginal” girly issue. As you were!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Translation, please?

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


(optional and not displayed)