With the approach of Veterans Day the media abounds with suggestions on how to honor our country’s veterans.
All are worthwhile: thanking vets for their service, giving them rides to the VA, taking care of their pets while they are deployed, sending care packages, passing on old cell phones, and contributing to causes that help vets.
On a more serious note: How about letting our legislators in D.C. know, as part of their efforts to lower military expenses, that veterans’ health benefits should not be equated with civilians’ health benefits. This latest attempt in the administration’s budget-cutting plan is insensitive to the differences between military and civilian working conditions.
If this plan is approved by our Congress and President Obama, aspiring soldiers may have to ask themselves if serving in the Afghan mountains, perhaps losing their legs in explosions and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, beats sitting behind a desk in a cushy government job, injuring themselves on sharp paper and risking carpal tunnel syndrome.
The list of differences between the military and civilians is so lengthy, this newspaper will not allow me the word count in my letter.
Most are obvious. One, however, is not. Title 10, Chapter 39 of the U.S. Code states that the secretary of defense has the authority to order retired members of the regular Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps back to active duty as necessary in the interest of national defense. This means war zones.
I couldn’t find anything in the code ordering civilian retirees back to their desks.