Thoughts on Veterans Day 2023

Remembering Veterans Day 2023
Remembering Veterans Day 2023

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Today is the one day each year America nominally gives thanks to military veterans, past and present. On this day lots of important people make a point of taking a few minutes out of their self-professed busy schedules to say something nice about veterans. Some important people will even go to a nearby military cemetery and lay a wreath on someone’s gravesite.

Meanwhile, restaurants across this great nation offer “special” free meals as their special thank you. For this one important day of remembrance. I guess it’s something.

I have some more thoughts on Veterans Day 2023.

Our Congress-Critters Appreciation

Republicans are big on “Honoring The Troops.” Really big. Huge. They make a point of doing things like Senator Rick Scott (R-Florida Man) publicly supporting our troops through the USO in July 2022. Then bragging about how he supports our troops.

Republican Senator Rick Scott Supporting the USO
Rick Scott Praising the USO minutes Before Voting Against An Important Veterans Healthcare Bill

Minutes after this touching public display of loving on our troops, he voted, along with 40 other Senate Republicans, to block advancement of the PACT Act. This was a bipartisan bill that would have expand health care and disability benefits for veterans who were exposed to toxic chemicals and burn pits (mostly in Iraq) during their military service. These 41 Republican Senators managed to stop our Veterans from getting the necessary healthcare they needed as a result of fighting in a war all Republicans supported. A war started by a former Republican President.

All the Senate Democrats voted in support of the PACT Act. Yet, somehow, in Conservative “minds” Democrats are the party of hating our troops.

Blockading The Troops

More recently we currently have the sorry spectacle of Alabama Republican Senator Tommy Tuberville now blocking almost 400 senior military officer appointments. He has been performing his one-person blockade for over nine months and shows no remorse nor relent.

His reason for this blockade? The military allows women stationed in a state that bans reproductive healthcare to travel to a state that allows female reproductive healthcare. Healthcare which includes abortion. Tuberville is apparently so outraged about the military trying to take care of their own, he’s decided to shut that whole thing down.

Meanwhile, Marine Commandant Gen. Eric Smith, the top Marine Corps General, suffered a heart attack after several months of working two jobs. He was working two jobs because his deputy position requires Senate confirmation. Which has been vacant as one of Tuberville’s blockades of senior officer appointments.

While this is one lone Republican senator abusing his power to fuck over military officials, after nine months none of his fellow Republicans have taken any meaningful actions to stop him.

Not Just The Troops

To be fair, Republicans don’t focus on only undercutting real support for military service members. These same brave Republicans also voice effusive praise on the 9/11 First responders who put their lives on the line to help others on our day of infamy. Yet, in 2019 they blocked a bill that provides special medical care for those very same first responders. Their stated reason is that “it costs too much, and we have to get our spending under control.”

But those same Republicans’ did vote to approve then-pres*dent trump’s $1.2 trillion tax cut plan. Apparently, no multi-millionaires who benefitted from this tax cut plan have health issues due to being 9/11 first responders.

Thank You For Your Service

Words are cheap. Republicans are big on talking the talk, but notably absent on walking the walk. I don’t just fault our elected leaders, however. Those elected officials were put into a place of power by voters. People who vote for Republicans are many of the same people walking around mouthing “Thank You For Your Service” on Veterans Day.

When I joined the Navy at the tail end of the Vietnam War, no one thanked me for my service. The first time I ever heard “Thank You For Your Service” was about the year 2000. Which was twenty-six years after I joined the military and four years after I retired. Since then, some people and organizations have made a fetish of thanking our troops. And talk is cheap.

I guess it’s nice to be thought of at least once each year. But I’d appreciate it much more if “Thank You” was something real.

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