I did not forget veterans day I just chose not to be a part of the hypocritical government spectacle that is put on every year on this day. I am thankful to our veterans every single day that I wake up and find myself still free and still alive. That the government refuses our veterans the help that they need once they are out of the armed forces and then tries to make political points by pretending to give a damn about them on November 11th bothers me. Traditions aside I am sure that the veterans coming back from Afghanistan would rather be getting medical disability, rather than listen to speeches telling them that the war is not over, or that Canada is not at war. Do not get me wrong I think that our veterans deserve this day and a whole lot more and it is the whole lot more that they are not getting that I find so distasteful about November 11th, or Remembrance Day.
I wish I could lay this at the feet of just Prime Minister Harper and the Conservative Party of Canada, but the truth is that since the end of the First World war all parties both governing and in opposition have failed our veterans terribly. There have been so many pleas from countless groups trying to help veterans, the veterans themselves, family members and even government agencies, like Veterans Affairs Canada and they have all fallen on deaf ears that refused to hear, blind eyes that could not see the suffering and hearts so cold that the problems of veterans became and still are just a political football. I think that it is time for a change and action needs to be taken. Parades, moments of silence are nice, but our veterans can not eat the wreaths we lay at their feet and their families can not survive on our words of praise and thanks.
When our soldiers returned from the war we as a country refused them medical attention for anything that could not be seen such as loss of limbs and refused to acknowledge mental trauma from all of the killing and having to kill that they witnessed and took part in. We as a nation insisted and are still trying to insist that Battle Fatigue , post-traumatic stress disorder and other syndromes associated with war are not real problems and so we kick them out of the service on dishonourable discharges. This renders the veteran unemployable and relieves the government of having to provide treatment and other related supports to the veteran. All too often the discharged veterans end up as homeless street people, or in jails across Canada and North America. This is our final thank you to those who have fought and died and endured horrors and witnessed so much hurting to keep us safe, to keep us free and come back alive. Liberals, Conservatives, New Democrats and even the Bloc all talked a great game, but all over the years have voted on the policies and either helped put those bills into laws, or kept them in place without change when they could have changed them.
Our government has treated our veterans in a shameless way. This year in a personal protest I bought my poppy and said a prayer for the fallen and the living veterans of Canada and the many veterans all over the world and their families. I prayed for an end to all of these senseless wars and the killing and suffering that wars bring. I prayed for peace and the end of war so that there would be no need for veterans and widows of war and the crippling effects of war. I prayed for the day that there would be no longer a need for Veterans Affairs, in my house, alone.
Our veterans are returning back from where we have sent them as a country all screwed up and unemployable as far as business is concerned. Oh we are grateful and will always say thank you, but why is it that our veterans can not find work? Our veterans end up on the streets begging, homeless and often in jails all over North America. We do not even have statistics on what happens to the veterans of stress problems related to war-time actions. There is no required follow-up done on veterans progress once they leave the armed forces. Once they have served their country and are of no further use militarily the government sees them no longer as assets, but rather as a liability, a strain on the economy and then it does what a government does best in these situations, it tries to make the veterans someone elses responsibility and problem.
Often this responsiblity falls on the veterans family. For months at a time the family must endure not having the soldier in the house while he fights in wars, or is off on peace keeping missions, only to have to take on the burden of sifting through the endless red tape and dealing with a government that puts up obstacle after obstacle in an effort to save money and dupe its veterans out of the financial, medical and social support that they have earned by their service to this country. This is the thank you that veterans have gotten to date except on Remembrance Day and I think that it sucks.
There are so many stories of our veterans dying alone, in pain, confused and forgotten by the government and the country they served so selflessly, but it is not only the government who has let them down, we the average citizen of Canada have let them down as well. We the Canadian citizen, have adopted the feeling that they have been paid in full. We seem to feel that the veterans are well taken care of for doing their duty and their job and are entitled to nothing more than they get from the government and that a simple thank you on November 11th and a moment of silence for those who paid the ultimate price is sufficient compensation to the veterans and their families.
We as a country need to come together and do something to change the plight of our veterans and their families. They deserve so much more and have suffered so much. So I issue a call, a plea for Canadians to make the lives of our veterans better, by applying political pressure on our government and all politicians no matter their political stripe to end this gross injustice that our veterans and their families face and suffer through every day. Protest, make phone calls to your MPs; write them and if they do not listen threaten not to vote for them.
Our veterans are the responsibility of all Canadians and that means me and you too. Saying thank you and acknowledging the sacrifice in this case is not enough. Please join me in protesting this shabby treatment of our veterans and get off of your butts and take a stand. This is a Canadian problem, not just a government problem.