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BRIDGES: Help for veterans in need still lacks
Chris Bridges
Chris Bridges

One of the issues candidates running for statewide or national office like to champion is help for veterans.

Promises made on the campaign trail, however, typically don’t see results once those candidates are in office. The VA hospital system continues to be not up to par and it’s not necessarily because of those working there. You can only stretch certain things such as staff and funding so far.

So in the end veterans continue to go without the care they need, both physical and mental. It’s a continuous blight on our country that has been going on much longer than any of us have been alive.

One veteran I know says things have been improved some. “I guess we should be thankful things aren’t worse,” he told me. 

Another veteran told me recently it’s really the same overall when dealing with the VA.

“It’s such a large mess that no one president would ever be able to fix it,” said a former classmate of mine who has served several tours overseas, often in combat zones.

The number of veterans with PTSD is at an all-time high. That will continue as our country, since the early 1990s, has been involved in wars that seemingly have no end. That means more returning servicemen and servicewomen are going to need medical and emotional care.

Waits for doctors within the VA system are still too long but veterans are able to seek assistance at other medical locations.

Suicide continues to be the ultimate dilemma for veterans. That number, according to numerous reports, is also at a record high. It’s tragic is so many ways because veterans should never feel like they have no hope or have no one speaking up for them. Many veterans also face issues such as being homeless and that is often has a direct link to the PTSD they deal with.

Campaign talk is always cheap. The real story should be what is done when a candidate gets elected. Did he or she keep their promises or were they just giving shallow talk?

We need to continue to stress to our elected officials (and those campaigning for office) that action is more important than talk when it comes to our veterans. Until then we continue to disrespect all those who paid such a high price so we could live in the greatest country on this planet.

Many advocate free health care for life for all veterans, whether they served in combat or not. If we can afford to send our servicemen and women into combat then we can afford to help them for what they have sacrificed.

Chris Bridges is a Covington News correspondent.