We owe our veterans a debt we can never repay! Our veterans have sacrificed in many ways to protect the freedoms we enjoy ... freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of opportunity and justice for all. Let us not forget, the strength of our nation is our army.
Our younger veterans face many problems in their transitions to civilian life in the areas of employment, education and medical care. The Veterans' Administration is half- way through a five-year plan to end homelessness. VA secretary Eric Shinseki has pledged to end veteran homelessness by 2015.
Congress must fully fund all potential methods of care for posttraumatic brain disorder and tinnitus. The processing of veterans for injuries and ailments has become more complex and intense. WWII veterans claimed one or two problems, back pain or head pain. Vietnam Veterans had claims for knee pain, back pain and head pain. Today's veterans are coming home with 11 to 14 complaints; not even including the most wounded and injured veterans.
The VA must also ensure that women's health problems are treated equally with those of the men in areas of access, quality, safety and satisfaction.
For decades military planners predicted a day when machines would fight America's battles. We are making good progress in that direction. We currently have unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), robots that send back images of threats encountered, unleash tear gas, and fire a machine gun and grenade launcher. Planners are eager to invest in robotic systems because they save lives. Robots have been developed to detect IEDs, see around corners and provide intelligence, and this is only in the early stages.
In regard to the welfare of our veterans, it must be emphasized that we have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the U.S.A. A commitment that begins with enlistment and must never end.
It is our government's moral and ethical responsibility to provide assistance to integrate all veterans back into our civilian society.
Let us never forget that we owe our veterans a debt forever, a debt that can never be repaid.
God bless and remember all our veterans. God bless our military. God bless America.
Col. Irving Davidoff (ret.)
New Smyrna Beach