Reading this somewhat self-serving history of the Department of Labor during and after World War II: “When the war ended, attention shifted to the needs of those returning from war and their families. The Serviceman’s Readjustment Act of June 22, 1944—widely known as the G.I. Bill—provided a weekly unemployment allowance, as well as counseling, placement services, education and job training to nearly 10 million veterans between 1944 and 1949.” Taking care of that generation was important to the country.
At the end or near end, of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we see that
most Americans now believe those conflicts were mistakes. I’m sure battle fatigue was a major factor in people’s opposition to an American incursion into Syria. Yet this is not a reflection of what people felt about soldiers’ bravery, from all reports.
The Veterans Affairs Department is drowning under mountains of paperwork representing services not rendered. During the government shutdown, the VA secretary said that “more than 5 million veterans, as well as some active-duty service members, would not have received “crucial benefits after Nov. 1 if the event had continued much longer. As it was, the shutdown slowed the process of paying those vets.
The better photo ops during the shutdown involved patriotic old men in their 80s and 90s unable to get to war memorials. Yet, one could argue that veterans were hurt far more by the loss of benefits during the shutdown than by the symbolic lack of access to some shrines. Open memorials may matter, but money for essentials matters, too.