The "honor our troops" party is showing their true color--- and it's definitely not red, white & blue. It's not even yellow, like the "support our troops" magnets they put on the back of their vehicles.
Their true color is green, the same color as the money lining the pockets of the wealthiest Alabamians -- those who benefit the most from our backwards tax code -- and their pet legislators. No new taxes to fund adequate state services, just cuts to balance the budget ... even closing veterans assistance offices in 17 Alabama counties.
These Veterans Service Offices help Alabama veterans navigate the paperwork required any time they need to deal with the Veteran's Administration. They pay no benefits, but "assist eligible veterans, their families, and survivors to receive from the U. S. Federal and State Governments any and all benefits to which they may be entitled under existing or future laws to be enacted." Pensions, health care, disability payments, survivor's benefits and everything else you can imagine -- these folks know which forms you need and how to fill them out.
And when the time comes for your complimentary US veteran headstone, they will help your family get it, and offer sincere condolences as well.
My Dad was a veteran of WWII and a former POW. I've spent a lot of time in the local Veterans Service Office with him and, after his death, with my Mother. I can't imagine how we would have coped without the kind, caring and extremely busy people who staff these offices. And let me tell you, the people you see in the waiting rooms of Veterans Service Offices offices are not people we need to be making drive to another county, or take a bus to another county.
The WWII veterans are now in their eighties and nineties, those who are left. The Korea vets are not far behind and even the Vietnam vets are senior citizens now. I don't know what percentage of the vets these offices assist are disabled, but just looking at the waiting rooms it seemed to me that at least half have a visible disability, especially the younger ones who are there as a result of service in the Middle East. Travel is not easy for these people. Neither are lengthy stints in a waiting area or on a bus.
The Governor and the Legislature -- at the behest of their pal Grover Norquist -- have chosen to balance the budget on the backs of Alabama veterans. Instead of looking for ways to raise revenue so we can afford to offer aid and assistance to the men and women who offered up their lives for us, and in many cases left part of themselves on the battlefield, our state leaders decided it would be easier to close 17 Veterans Service Offices.
Please note that it is a Republican governor with Republican supermajorities in both houses of the Legislature who have cut assistance for Alabama veterans. Next time any one of those Republicans talks about honoring our troops, feel free to call him or her a damned liar.