A note before I begin: I just wanted to say thank you to all veterans and those actively serving. Your sacrifices don’t go unnoticed. I hope you remember that, even when it may feel otherwise.
And to be honest, I struggled with figuring out just how to start this article off. When all is said and done, how could I ever say enough to thank veterans come Memorial Day? So, as I sat here pondering and in a moment of reflection, I took to social media for some inspiration. Well, I found that rather quickly with the following tweet. I feel that it left the perfect taste in my mouth for what this article should be. A reminder of all that has been given and lost in exchange for the betterment of our country as a whole.
Veterans and military families all over the world, we love you. Thank you for everything.
Furthermore, thanks to all of you for reading. – Matt Hirst
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had the utmost respect for veterans and those who serve in our military. In some capacity, I’m sure that’s somewhat due to having military and/or government work sprinkled intermittently throughout my family tree, but overall, I think my appreciation for veterans comes largely from an understanding formed at a young age about just how much these men and women sacrifice for us.
And for as long as I can remember, the thought of giving up/pledging my life like that terrified me. Really, that’s probably the foundation upon which my respect for the military is built. I remember never even wanting to consider academy ball because of the underlying significance and commitment. I suppose that’s due to a mixture of youth, naivety, selfishness, and fear, the latter of which was only made stronger by television’s portrayal of war and my own learning on such matters as a whole. But, of course, with fear comes fascination, and I could never help but be interested in military matters anyway. Maybe living in the Middle East between between 1999 and 2007 – not to mention during 9/11 – had something to do with it too.
After all, one of the things that brought me to fascination with war and fighting for the good was how terrorists and war criminals like Hitler were capable of standing for such bad. As a kid, it was the intriguing idea that people could fight and kill each other like that. It was the blood and gore that such great war-time flicks like Pearl Harbor, Saving Private Ryan and Memphis Belle provided followed by discovering ugly realities and learning about atrocities committed time and time again in the name of war. It was the idea that there were people out there that we needed protecting from, and that it takes some really great people to get a job like that done. It was the idea that people would risk life and limb for what they believe is the right way to live, the American way, even if it means supporting differing views.
It’s funny because, as I age, I realize that the things I found fascinating as a youngster haven’t really lost their shine, it’s just that there’s so much more to think about. There’s the foreign relations, the psychology and sociology, the geopolitical impacts, the domestic politics. Furthermore, there’s always the veteran health care conversation and a constant news focus devoted to glorifying American war interests in the Middle East. There’s the mental health of veterans…
There are so many things to consider, and even so, many of the fundamental questions I mentioned having about war earlier as a kid still go unanswered. Sadly, one of the relatively newer questions is this:
How is taking better care of our veterans not a bigger priority?
And I mean bigger in priority than just click-bait television and social media views. We see it on t.v. and the news, how veterans don’t get the support they need upon returning home and giving everything they had, yet the national dialogue fails time and time again to cash talking points in for solutions.
There are a lot of sad stories, obscene medical and other bills, and issues for the American veteran, even those actively serving. It just makes you think. So many people die, have died, and will die forever for their country, yet we don’t have a system in place that does them right consistently. How sad is that? Not only that, but how purposeful? We should be ensuring that those who give their all for our freedoms as Americans are rewarded and supported for such commitment, especially when things end up for the worse, be that health-wise or financially.
I mean, just check this Twitter thread out. It’s essentially the U.S. Army getting railed endlessly by horror stories from people about their family member experiences in wake of military service.
Those in the military don’t just protect our freedoms as Americans, they also take on the worst of emotional and physical baggage to do so. Our military bleeds and dies for us. The least we could do is guarantee that we’re there to catch them when they fall. As constituents, it’s our duty to force legislation that does so. Furthermore, I believe it’s our duty to give back in other ways if current programs aren’t getting it done.
That’s why I joined N.R.G. Foundation – No Restrictions Golf as a Board Member. There, we work to provide a rehabilitative golf support program for veterans and first responders with physical disabilities, PTS, and/or TBI in a way that perhaps only a 501(C)(3) nonprofit effort could.
Healthcare reformation overall takes a lot of effort, especially when it comes to matters of veteran health care specifically, but I guess that’s just what it takes for now. Besides, what better cause than putting first those who so selflessly put this country first time after time? That was a no-brainer to me. Our current system so largely overlooks our veterans, why should I?