The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

June 5, 2014

Remembering to remember seems more important

Maybe it was the cartoon in the local paper. The one that depicted a man in a chef’s hat, holding a spatula as meat cooked on a grill and kids frolicked nearby. The gleeful caption read: “This is great! I wish every weekend was Memorial Weekend.” A second panel showed a woman and two children somberly looking at a picture of a serviceman on a mantle and a framed American flag. The caption read: “For some families, it is.”

Maybe it was the recent scandal over wait times at VA hospitals, delays that may have contributed to the deaths of several servicemen who had sought treatment but never got in to see a doctor. The scandal eventually resulted in the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki.

Maybe it was President Obama’s trip to Afghanistan where he addressed some of the 32,000 troops who remain there and said the number would be fewer than 10,000 by the end of this year. He correctly and succinctly added, “We have to recognize that Afghanistan will not be a perfect place, and it is not America’s responsibility to make it one.”

Maybe it was the sadness he felt when he read in news reports swirling around the VA scandal that Republicans in the U.S. Senate, on procedural grounds, had blocked a bill back in February that may have helped the VA cut in to its backlog of claims, and that, not to be outdone, the House of Representatives in May passed a bill funding tanks and fighter jets the Pentagon said they didn’t really want or need. Since when, he mused, does America value machines more than people?

Or maybe it was the fact his son, a Marine Security Guard, home on leave for a week, was only days from being posted to a consulate half a world away.

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