Tribute to soldiers
A man who once stood for prosperity and freedom. A man who once stood for what was right.
A man who once stood for equal opportunity and respect. A man who wore dog tags as his identity.
A man who would die for his country. A man who never backed down from a challenge.
A man who got the call to serve. A man who was pinned in a building from enemy fire.
A man who jumped on a grenade to save his platoon. A man who sacrificed his life for his country.
A man who won’t be forgotten.
Vets deserve better
As a 20-plus-year military retiree, I have not personally needed to take advantage of the Department of Veterans Affairs medical services.
However, I am appalled and outraged by the allegations of the inexcusable treatment of some U.S. military vets by VA hospitals and other support functions.
This is not the first time our country has slighted its veterans.
Failures to meet various promises date back to at least the Civil War.
In my opinion, Eric Shinseki should be removed as VA secretary.
As a retired four-star general, he probably has never had to personally deal with the problems and delays — perhaps fatal — experienced by too many men and women who have served this country.
Commentators lament that a low percentage of youth could qualify for military service, but history tells us that this issue is hardly unique.
I think the real story is about those who do qualify to serve, whether it is a four-year enlistment or a 30-year career. Media comparisons of the projected post-2015 Army to the pre-World War II Army are inaccurate.
The pre-World War II Army was actually smaller with 200,000 regulars. Tomorrow’s active duty force will still be much more potent.
The regulars of 1939 provided a cadre of professionals that facilitated the Army’s expansion to 8 million people — the majority of whom were draftees — by 1945.
My grandfather was not a model member of the Greatest Generation. He came from a broken home, got into trouble and was covered with tattoos. By today’s standards, he would not qualify to serve. Yet he served honorably during World War II, including combat.
This was possible because of the professionals who trained and led him in war.
Never forget Vietnam
There were more than 211,000 killed and wounded Americans in the Vietnam War.
It was one of the most horrific wars in American history, and not just because of the death toll but also because of the horrific effect it had on many men’s minds.
It was a war in which we never knew who our enemies truly were, and because of this there was a massive mistreatment of the Vietnamese population.
Overall, Vietnam was a massive event that affected an entire generation.
Yet, when I ask teens what Vietnam is they respond, saying, “A country?” “A place?” One particularly confused person even said, “A food?”
Vietnam was extremely important to Americans. Why have we dropped the ball and not passed this on to the next generation?
If nothing else, we could sit down with our children and watch a documentary or film that portrays the war as it truly was
This is the least we can do to help remember the sacrifices made by so many great Americans and to honor the memory of those who died on both sides.
Revamp VA care
I propose that we eliminate the Department of Veterans Affairs’ medical services altogether.
Why can we not relieve the VA of its medical responsibilities and just let the department manage veterans’ affairs, records and benefits and champion veterans’ rights?
Why not give each veteran a Medicare card or its limited equivalent and allow that veteran to seek medical relief in the private market? Most veterans would probably prefer that to the VA bureaucracy of long waits and inferior care.
The VA is constantly subject to partisan politics, lack of funding, public attitudes and the whims of Congress.
VA services are replicated in the private sector in almost every major city, putting veterans within 50 miles of premium medical care.
The duplication of services is costly and inefficient, and both the VA and the private sector would benefit from the VA handing over its medical arm to the private sector.
Health-care experts would have to carefully work out the specifics of such a transition.
But, shouldn’t we at least consider such an option for the sake of America’s veterans?
Veterans deserve better, and so does the VA.
Affordable care gap
It was my understanding that the purpose of the Affordable Care Act was to make health insurance affordable for all. For me, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
While my mother, who is in a different tax bracket, is eligible for a tax credit to pay her insurance premiums, my income is well below the poverty level and I do not qualify.
I do not qualify for Medicaid either, and because Missouri has not expanded the Medicaid program to assist those below the poverty level, I am left uninsured.
I appreciate not being penalized for not having insurance, but I’m left with the responsibility to pay for all my health-care expenses.
I’m also left to wonder exactly who is getting the better deal.
Green energy waste
Wind, solar and geothermal energies will make no difference in the amount of oil the United States uses or imports.
Missouri tax cuts
Patrick Ishmael, policy analyst for the Show-Me Institute (5-14, Letters), wrote to praise the tax cut forced through in Missouri over Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto.
He wrote, “This tax cut serves as a mile marker on the path of greater reforms.”
In fact, this tax cut will end programs for the poorest people and will set Missouri on a path to state bankruptcy, on the path to having the most underpaid state workers in America, on the path to higher property taxes to fund K-12 education and on the path to higher tuition costs for higher education.
Who is behind the Show-Me Institute?
Check it out on the Internet.
Crosby Kemper III is chairman of the board. Billionaire Rex Sinquefield is president and the co-founder and the biggest donor to Missouri Republican legislators. He owns the Missouri legislature. The members vote as they are told.
To see the list of the entire board, Google the Show-Me Institute, or go to showmeinstitute.org, and click the “About Us” box at the top of the page.
None of these people will be negatively affected by the tax cuts, but they will all benefit from them.
Gene W. DeVaux
King Tut admission
On the King Tut replica exhibition, will Union Station accept replica dollar bills for the admission fee?
Old county map
I have a Johnson County map that I have tried to date with various area surveyors, estimating it might have been printed around 1900.
It is about 4 feet wide by 4 feet high and still brightly colored because it is printed on oil-cloth — a material only older folks will know about.
It shows every plat of land in the county, along with the registered owner and the acreage. There are almost no roads.
There are a lot of family names in the county from way back, so I thought they would get a kick out of showing their kids where their great- great- grandparents had lived. For only that reason, I offered it free to a couple of local museums.
They loved it. I asked where you would display it so folks could see it.
“Oh, we won’t hang it,” they said. “We will roll it up and put in a drawer for research.”
I said, “No you won’t. It stays in my basement.”
With equipment available nowadays, it could be copied, too.