It’s hard to believe that in two years, it will have been a full century since the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, when the armistice was signed, silencing finally the guns and ending the Great War. Almost a century ago, my paternal grandfather, a recent immigrant from what is now Poland, was sent back to Europe to fight in it. Unfortunately, the war’s end only planted the seeds for another worse one, and a little over two decades later, his only child, my father, at the age of eighteen, flew in a B-25 Mitchell bomber to Italy via Ascension Island to man a radio and waist gun in it.
No one who fought in the first one is any longer with us, and the ranks of those who fought in the second one are rapidly diminishing, as it too passes out of living memory. I didn’t serve, but if I had, I’d have wanted to be a pilot in the Air Force (my prescription for eyeglasses in the third grade put an end to that). But I remain grateful to all who have.
I hope that one of Trump’s highest priorities is to fix the VA system, the lack of addressing which is one of the many things for which Barack Obama would be ashamed, if he had any shame. And if you want to see how a single-payer government healthcare system would work, just ask a vet.
[Update a while later]
The Washington Examiner agrees with me on the latter point:
Now that the long, bitter 2016 election is over, Americans are free to stop thinking about the VA scandal as a partisan issue. It’s a new day, and partisans need not become defensive about the agency’s disgraceful treatment and broken promises.
Vets will now turn to President-elect Trump with their concerns. He won many of their votes because he was willing to shine a light on the problem, rather than dismiss it, as his opponent did, as “not widespread.”
“The VA is, really you could say is almost a corrupt enterprise,” Trump declared at one point. At another: “Our vets, our most cherished people, thousands of people are dying waiting on line to see a doctor.” His simple promise: “We are going to make it efficient and good.”
Let’s hope he does. Bold words will not be enough. We sincerely hope Trump follows through ruthlessly on this promise. If so, he will have done the nation a true and necessary service, and he will deserve the gratitude even of the tens of millions who voted against him.