Monday, March 28, 2005

A Legacy of Forgetting

From the Civil War until the war in Iraq, the pattern has been familiar, and because the pattern has repeated and repeated, it’s all that more unforgivable. Presidents and the Congress have sent our young off to fight in wars, most of them supported by the citizens of this great country.

Yet a predictable disconnect takes place as these men (and now women) return from the battlefield, and many of them back to civilian life.

They are forgotten. They are our veterans – and their families. They no longer are a priority. They no longer grab the headlines. They parade once or twice a year and most everyone applauds them – and they are promptly forgotten again. They are used in elections, and they forgotten again.

The country has almost always promised veterans some sorts of support upon their return, and as they grow old, but somehow as time goes by, priorities change things, and veterans find themselves having to fight once more – this time for things promised as a payment for their sacrifices.

Too harsh of an indictment, you say. I don’t think so. Once again history is repeating itself, and if not for organizations who fight for veterans rights, veterans would be totally forgotten.

The old cliché holds true: the lessons of history not learned are doomed to be repeated.

The lessons from World War I are especially instructive.

More to come…

Posted by a Vet -- -- permanent link