On this Memorial Day, 2008, I would like to thank each veteran who has answered our call to defend our country.
I had a few hours off one afternoon during a recent business trip up to Rockville, Maryland so I grabbed my Canon G9 and took the subway into downtown Washington DC. It was just a quick stroll — my main photo hint for this is to take a lot more time and a lot more pictures.
The World War II memorial is new since I was there last (many years ago). This is a photo of the Florida section.
The Vietnam Memorial always affects me deeply each time I see it. The gifts and tokens placed at the wall by loved ones of our fallen veterans, even after so many years is profoundly moving.
Now, I apologize in advance for getting a little political on a blog that is devoted to photography. Here are some statistics taken from the Veterans Administration, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, Rand as quoted in an article appearing today on the San Francisco Chronicle Web site :
- The suicide rate of veterans is at least three times the national suicide rate. In 2005, the suicide rate for veterans 18 to 24 years old was three to four times higher than non-veterans.
- About 154,000 veterans nationwide are homeless on any given night. One-fourth of the homeless population is veterans.
- There are more homeless Vietnam veterans than the number of soldiers who were killed during that war.
- It takes at least 5.5 years, on average, to resolve a benefit claim with the Veteran’s Administration.
- More than 600,000 unresolved claims are backlogged with the Veteran’s Administration.
- Approximately 18.5 percent of service members who have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq currently have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression.
- 19.5 percent of these veterans report experiencing traumatic brain injury.
- Roughly half of those who need treatment seek it, but only slightly more than half of those who receive treatment receive at least minimally adequate care, according to an April 2008 Rand Report.
As a citizen and a voter, I am ashamed of these numbers. Taking care of those that protect our country is a fundamental obligation of government. Each and every one of us should demand that our elected officials honor commitments we have made to veterans who have honored us with their service. Until we do so, Memorial Day seems a shallow honor at best.
My photos from this trip are posted here .
©2008, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.