TRUST ME. The last thing I want to do is use my father and his service to this country to make a political point. This is NOT about that. This is about people, real live humans, good people who have given without asking anything in return.
Here’s the story: my dad served in the Army in World War II. His last assignment during the war was in Belgium. As a veteran he has received some assistance from the VA over the last few years: like medications and hearing aids.
There is a benefit for veterans who fought in foreign wars called the “Aid and Attendance” benefit. For years, Dad has checked many of the boxes to qualify: WW2 vet in the European theatre, and he is legally blind. He has not been able to qualify though because he and mom planned carefully for their retirement and paid premiums for years for long term health care insurance. Now at ages 94 and 91, Dad and Mom have outlived their insurance coverage, which means they should be able to qualify for the veterans benefit because of the reduced income.
Five months ago we started the application process which we were told could take six to eight weeks. We were told that the benefit would certainly start as early as Thanksgiving. It didn’t. (I guess, to be fair, they didn’t say which Thanksgiving.) We contacted Senator James Lankford’s office for help. They checked and said the application is pending—waiting on verification of his military service, which is odd since he has received VA benefits as I mentioned above. Also, we included copies of his discharge papers with the application.
Then my niece, my dad’s Grand-Girl, Ashley, discovered that there is a website where ostensibly you can create a log-in to monitor the progress of the application.
So she navigated the convulated path to entering the monitoring website. Now when we check to see if the application is moving forward we get this message:
Did I mention my dad is 94 years old?
Did I mention he is a veteran of World War II?
Did I mention I have never in my life heard
my dad even hint that he might be “entitled” to anything?
I don’t know for certain that the current government shut down is impacting the progress of my dad’s application, but government shut down or no, I can’t escape the feeling that our government is deeply damaged, that it is full of self-serving, arrogant bureaucrats, who are out of touch and out of control.
Is it hopeless? If we’re talking about my dad’s application for a benefit he qualifies for, deserves and (here I’ll say it) is entitled to, I sure hope not. If we’re talking about the bigger issue of governance in America—let me say this, I’m ready to let Trump have his damn wall to put an end to this latest chapter of disgusting nonsense.
Trying to stay positive here, one upside to “the wall” might be that once it is built we can all go there to bang our heads against the north face of it.
Understand; this is me talking, not my dad. I didn’t even ask his permission (which has gotten me in trouble more than once). My dad, and my mom, are of the Greatest Generation. They are beautiful people who trust in the Providence of God.
Me? You would think with parents like these I would have a better attitude. Maybe when I grow up.
Here is a picture of Dad a few years ago at the World War II memorial in Washington D.C. He is with my brother-in-law, Fred, a Vietnam era Marine who served three tours of duty in the Middle East; and his son Joe, currently in the U.S. Navy.
(You know, I can’t help but wonder if the current POTUS has even strolled through this memorial, or the Korean War Memorial, or the Vietnam Memorial and read the inscriptions there. Oh wait, I forgot about his pesky bone spurs.) (Sorry. I was raised better.)
In case you can’t read the words on the wall behind them, the inscription reads:
D-DAY JUNE 6, 1944
You are about to embark upon the
Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these
many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.
I have full confidence in your courage
and devotion to duty and skill in battle.
—General Dwight D. Eisenhower