A military thanks
I was informed today that 45% of those who serve in the military will collect some amount of disability. The woman who said this was shocked. ‘Isn’t this a lot of money the government was spending? Aren’t taxpayers responsible for this awful expense?’
A 10% disability was listed in the article as $127/month. Over a years’ time, this is $1524. I remarked how little that was. She argued that I wasn’t thinking this was a 20 year old who would collect this amount for the rest of his life.
I am thinking about this 20 year old. I’m thinking of the 20 year old who enlisted, who served his country, who fought for my freedom. I’m thinking of the men and women who returned from this service as disabled vets, who will live with a disability for the rest of their lives, so I can enjoy the privileges they fought for. That paltry $1524 a year just doesn’t seem like a high enough payment to me.
She continued reading the article. She read how there are more types of qualifying injuries and disabilities now than there were in World War II, in Vietnam. And I remembered the men my grandfather and my dad served beside, who came home and struggled with PTSD, who lost homes and families without any support from the nation they served and without recognition of the difficulties they might face. I remembered the men who served and served well who ended up homeless because no one would recognize that their service cost them such a high personal price. I explained that the small sum we pay assists service members in obtaining jobs and training to reenter the civilian workforce, in purchasing decent housing for their families and providing for their children.
I’m not sure she ever understood. We owe our troops much more than a small disability check. Everything we enjoy, all that we take for granted in this great nation came at a great price. Those who are still on earth to complain about $1524/year didn’t pay it.