As the war on the novel coronavirus COVID-19 continues, our own Air Force is charting a bomber future in line with the Pentagon’s new focus on a potential war with China or Russia. We expect to spend about $55 Billion on the all new nuclear capable Long-Range Strike Bomber, the B-21. On top of that, hundreds of billions more to replace darn near all of the major elements of our nuclear weapons arsenal.

So, if you think about it, the trillions that have been spent on the War on COVID-19, and the future spending of just keeping our Nation safe, where do you think all this money is coming from? How do you think our government is going to pay for all this? Will they do what they have done in the past and cut programs that have helped our veterans and their families? Will they shave corners to make ends meet at the expense of those of us who have already served, to support our present-day military? Just seems like the money is always there for new weapons or planes to fight wars and conflicts around the world, but when it comes to taking care of our veterans that have served and are no longer on the Battle Field, we veterans become skimped on, and the help and services we need are compromised or discontinued.

I am reminded about our veterans continuing fights for help with Agent Orange or the Burn Pits or the many other toxic elements that we were exposed to when deployed. We have always had to continue to fight for what we were promised. Many veterans have died or we have suffered all our lives before our nation has recognized the needs of our military when we come home and we are forgotten. Why have veterans always had to raise hell, to get someone to listen and live up to the promises made to us before they even throw us a bone. We need to start NOW demanding what we deserve before we are back to the long waits at the Veteran Administration Health Centers (of course, that has not yet even been fully taken care of).

We are at the forefront of weapons in space, how much do you think we will be spending on that venture? Your guess is as good as mine but I can assure you it will probably boggle the mind.

All this spending, I am sure, has been well thought out and our elected officials have at each step considered our military veterans, who have come home. Are they planning for our health needs and have they put aside a fund that will be able to address PTSD, and the war wounds that take many forms and the asbestos exposure, the cancer-causing toxic firefighting foam aboard ship and at our military bases? The case for us standing up now, making our voices and concerns heard now will give us a fighting chance of getting the support in our future. If you wait for the other guy to do it, you might be sitting there in the future asking for help for a problem you have personally developed when in the military, and it is too late, because that other guy was waiting for you to speak up, so no one did. The day of being complacent and knowing that there are folks that will take care of the problems that affect us, can no longer be relied upon, just look at the situations facing us now, for being complacent breeds mediocrity and robs us of realizing a great potential. The time to tackle our future is now.

On the local level, The Vale American Legion Post No. 96 presented a flag raising ceremony to dedicate a new flag pole at the Vale Seniors/Community Center the other day. I was not able to attend but heard that it was well attended and the Vale Post made us all proud to be Veterans. Thank you, Gino, John and all the members who keep that post shining.

“Complacent ignorance is the most lethal sickness of the Soul.” — Plato, Greek Philosopher, 424BC to 347BC, Athens, Greece

Ronald Verini is a local veterans advocate who writes a weekly column for The Argus Observer. He can be contacted at (541) 889-1978, help@veteranadvocates.org or 180 W. Idaho Ave., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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