On Veterans' Day, too many heroes are homeless
On November 11, 2015, we celebrate two important events: Veterans’ Day and the birthday of General George Patton.
Initially, Armistice Day was established to reflect upon the sacrifices of World War I Veterans. In 1954, November 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. Today, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs defines the holiday as a “celebration to honor America’s Veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”
When we honor our veterans’ past, can we forget about their present and their future?
George Patton was born in San Gabriel, California on November 11, 1885.
The general probably wouldn’t appreciate a tearful trip down the memory lane, because he considered that “[i]t is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.”
It is sure that the native of California would be shocked and furious to discover that his home state is today the nation’s capital of veterans’ homelessness. Patton would most definitely make sure that VA “gets some education in about 30 seconds,” and he’d say a little prayer: “May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won’t.”
In a human rights sense, the term “vulnerable population” refers to “the disadvantaged sub-segment of the community, requiring utmost care, specific ancillary considerations and augmented protection.” How come that country’s most deserving citizens are today a vulnerable population, with 50% of them more likely to become homeless than other Americans?
In “Target Patton,” military historian Robert Wilson claims that General Donovan, the head of the Office of Strategic Services, said: “We’ve got a terrible situation with this great patriot, he’s out of control and we must save him from himself and from ruining everything the allies have done.”
Well, Patton is still leading us.
A nation blessed with great warriors is never alone, never without leadership, and has no right to give up. General Patton considered that everyone has an important role in the quest for victory and freedom. No matter the job, the general’s order is the same: “continue to advance until you run out of ammunition. Then, dig in.”
The observance of Veterans’ Day means parades, speeches, and promises. Meanwhile, our homeless heroes need shelter, food, and security. The ceremony of wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns will stay meaningless as long as our veterans sleep on Skid Row, eat from garbage cans, and are subjected to hate crimes.
Patton’s soldiers, no matter if they served in Vietnam, Korea, or Afghanistan, have never been allowed to retire; they are fighting for survival and for freedom, this time on U.S. soil.
Make no mistake: no matter how exhausted, they’ll demand respect for the American flag.
No matter the sacrifice, they just shrug their shoulders and humbly say: I’m just keeping my oath.
Happier Veterans’ Day to you: our heroes. General Patton said: “It is the unconquerable nature of man and not the nature of the weapon he uses that ensures victory.” You prove him right.
Whenever a politician dares to brag “my military,” a patriot will dare to remind:
We are standing by you.