When I was a kid I was involved in a school project. We made lanyards which we sent to those who were returning veterans from the Korean War (or Police Action if you prefer). Our small school made and sent hundreds of these as Christmas presents to our returning soldiers, many of whom had been severely wounded and were being treated at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
I remember that all of us who volunteered (which incidentally was 100% of my class) felt really good about doing this. We were too young to have a really clear understanding of all that was involved in the word “war” but we were told by our teachers that soldiers were people who fought and sometimes died to protect our country from its enemies. The lanyards that we made were meant to show those who had fought and been wounded that we appreciated their sacrifices.
When I worked on my lanyards I remember that I wanted them to be perfect. The amount of tension that I applied in twisting and braiding had to be precise because this was going to someone special – someone whom I did not know and would never meet. I wanted to have as much pride in my work as they had shown in theirs.
Walter Reed Army Hospital is still a major source of treatment for those who have returned from our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It treats many of those who are the most severely wounded – double and triple amputees. The course of treatment, because of the severity of the injuries, sometimes takes two years or more.
Most of these soldiers are housed in Building 62 of the hospital and get their meals at the “Warrior Café” within that building. But the café has been closed – due to “legal issues” and now these soldiers have to wheel themselves to the next closest eating facility – one half mile away in the complex. A one mile round trip three times a day for people in a wheel chair or who have to walk there on prosthetic limbs.
After protests from the families of these soldier-patients about the burden this creates, the hospital administration, notwithstanding the “legal issues” surrounding the eating facility, have decided to reopen the café. Good decision.
If this is the way we treat those who have made tremendous sacrifice for the country, what might the average person expect when government controls our healthcare?