Sunday, August 14, 2011

Military needs

Earlier this week, the husband had to go to Walter Reed for a medical appointment and I decided to ride along.  This isn't the first time we've had to go there, but this time was a bit more bittersweet than the last.  As we were winding our way through the crazy corridors trying to locate the correct office, all around were people packing up offices, searching for boxes, talking about moving schedules.  The next time we have to go for a special medical appointment, we'll be heading to Bethesda instead.  It's amazing to think about the legacy of that building, and of the history that has been contained within it's walls.

The military medical system is a difficult system to use.  The logistics of doctors, nurses, and technicians relocating every few years guarantees that your care will be routinely handled by a different person, and sometimes it affects the consistency of care you receive.  In recent years, the military health system has come under greater scrutiny, and Walter Reed was at the center of that scrutiny. Changes were made, and are still being made.  I'm hopeful that these changes bring about a greater level of care for our wounded soldiers. I appreciate the many people who work within this system daily, trying to provide the needed services for those who have sacrificed for their fellow man.

Sometimes it's hard to see what the members of America's military do to protect us here at home.  We hear about them fighting the war overseas and we hear people's opinion on those wars. We hear about the casualties and the bad things that happen.  And occasionally we hear about the good things they are doing over there. And then those men and women come home, hopefully safely, and try to live their everyday lives.  Many of those serving overseas are members of the Guard or Reserves.  The military is not their normal life, and no matter how they serve, normal life has continued while they were away.  They have to learn to live a life that has changed.  They may not bear physical wounds, but anyone that has deployed to a war zone will tell you that they have a new reality when they return home.  Some of them bear scars that no one will ever see.

Our country struggles to handle these wounded veterans.  The system wants to point fingers and cover up blame.  Our elected officials worry more about the next election than the do the quality of life for our military members and their families.  Sure, it's nice to attend Easter egg hunts and ballgames and concerts.  And those events make great photo ops.  But what our service members need is care.  They need to know that they will receive their pay on time.  They need to know that they will receive the best medical treatments available, both for them and their families.  They need to know that the equipment and buildings they use are built to the highest standard, not the lowest.  They need to know that the retirement benefits they've been counting on will be there when they retire.

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