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Hartselle Enquirer

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Veterans not treated fairly
Editor:
I just read Tom Philpott's article "Personnel Chiefs Talk Past War's Unpopularity" (http://www.military.com/NewContent/0,13190,Philpott_072105,00.html) about the hearings Rep. Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) has been having regarding not being able to meet recruiting goals.
I agree with the reasoning that the war in Iraq has much to do with it, but there is also another elephant in the room that has not been addressed. That is the failure by the Congress and the Administration to live up to the promises made to those of us who have spent a career in military service.
We were promised 50 percent of our basic pay at retirement if we served 20 years, but were not told we would have to forfeit $1 of that for every $1 of disability compensation we received if we had a service-connected disability.
We were also promised free medical care for life for ourselves and our families if we served 20 years. What we actually get for free is nothing. If we live near a military installation that has sufficient capacity, we are permitted to use the medical facilities if we pay for it. If we don't happen to be able to use the military medical facilities, we must pay for civilian medical insurance, because most doctors will not accept CHAMPUS/TriCare.
David Chu was right in his assumption that there is a "growing reluctance among "older advisors" to American youth to encourage military service".
But he either has no clue as to why, or he just refuses to admit it to himself or anyone else, but his own statements in Congressional hearings and his position that we "older advisors" are a drain on military operations is a large part of why I, and many other military retirees I know, will counsel young people not to join the military. Our first President, George Washington, put it best when he said, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."
If our government will not honor its commitments to military veterans why, on God's green earth, should anyone want to serve that government by being in the military?
I hope you will share this with all your colleagues and that it will open a few eyes to the consequences of ill-conceived actions.
Gene Aittala
USN Retired
Grandmother was a special person
The poem below was written by Amber B. Raley in memory of her grandmother, Estie Irene Holloway, who passed away on July 21, 2005, at the age of 89.
Editor:
Children do not cry for me
Although I know I'll be missed
I'm happy and I'm free.
No more tears, no more pain
Look for me in the flowers,
The sunshine, and the summer rains.
Think of me when you're fishing,
On a creek bank or at the lake.
Remember me for the biscuits
I used to bake.
What a wonderful time we had
Gathering at the breakfast table.
And the big country meals I cooked
Back when I was able.
In the Bible the Lord said
Be faithful and multiply
And by the looks if it, we
Surely did comply.
Each one of you search your mind
And find those memories I left behind.
Don't hold them there, share each one,
The love, the laughter, the joy, the fun.
Don't be sad, I'm not alone,
I now dwell in my heavenly home.
I'm so happy, how my heart sings
I'm done on earth, I've earned my wings.
-Amber Raley
Supreme Court choice a poor one
Editor:
George Bush's appointment of John G. Roberts to the Supreme Court, replacing Sandra Day O'Connor, is a continuing example of the dictatorial reign of George Bush. No condemnation of John Roberts at this time because it appears he is an outstanding person and legal mind and he may well make an acceptable Supreme Court Justice. But, the issue here is, he is a political conservative who fits what "George Bush wants", not at all what "the people want."
So, what is new? As with all dictators, Bush has never listened to the voice of the people.
James L. Nix
Hartselle

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