The standard accounting of Veterans in two Counties that make up Long Island, New York, is 85,000. That seems like a high number when you look at a map of the U.S. and isolate the Counties that make up the suburb communities of Nassau and Suffolk Counties. But, when you realize that there are almost 3,000,000 people in these two Counties that number starts to look pretty small. The figures, below, substantiate the number of Veterans as a percentage of the population. The last group of numbers, below, are the National totals, and reflect the Veterans from all armed conflicts and wars who are still living.
U.S. > New York > Long Island > Nassau & Suffolk Counties >
Veterans  > as a % of total population:
Pop. Est. / 2012 1,339,529
Veterans  / 2012 65,613 = 5.00 %
Pop. Est. / 2012 1,493,350
Veterans  / 2012 87,284 = 5.50 %
United States > Veterans as a % of population:
Pop. Est. / 2012 313,873,685
Veterans  / 2012 21,853,912 = 7.00 %
: Surviving Veterans of all armed conflicts (wars); World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War,
Lebanon War, Persian Gulf War, Afghan War, Iraq War, and numerous smaller armed conflicts since 1943.
Politicians in this Country take a look at numbers like these to forge their strategies. 7% of any political constituency forms a block of possible voters who, by and large, can be ignored with no impact to a political campaign, or term in Office. If you look at politics as simply a numbers game, this type of thinking makes sense. There is, however, one small problem when you blatantly minimize, lie to, and ignore this Nation’s Veterans. We Veterans, as a whole, tend to vote; unlike the rest of the civilian population. We also have an earned distrust of government; after all, it was government that sent us off to fight wars in God-forsaken lands. And, once we got there, it was government that refused to supply us with adequate gear, rolling stock, and proper military strategy. Then, when we got back home, we were promised a package of benefits
that weren't accessible, or were unattainable, or simply denied. This has been the overriding case since the Vietnam War, and, to Veterans of that era, it is painful to see how inadequately the Veterans of today are being treated. Granted it is tough cleaning up the human excrement left by war, but that is one of the jobs a Federal government that created the mess is obligated to do.
No one seems to be asking the question, “ If the Federal and State governments deliver the services they claim to, then why do organizations like The Wounded Warrior Project, The Soldier’s Project, the PTSD Veterans Association, and all the rest of the 501(c)’s have a need to exist?” The answer is that they shouldn't need to exist; the government should be there to pick up the pieces when their Soldiers return home – no matter the cost.
History tells us that fighting is in our DNA. Wars and armed conflicts have been a part of the very fiber of humankind. And, in the modern day Armies, there is an insidious cancer that is called the Military/Industrial Complex. Just the term should raise the hair on the back of your neck; it did for President/General of the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower. So, now we have dollar signs attached to everything related to a standing Army, including benefits for Veterans. This certainly is a bean-counters’ Heaven! It appears that currently that is all the Department of Veterans Affairs knows how to do. The fewer benefits and services delivered to our Veterans, the better the “bottom line” looks. Ah, but I digress...
We may be only a measly 5-7% of the population, but we have a record of going to the polls on Election Day that puts any other voter block to shame – by a lot. So, having fought enemies of the State, it is now necessary that we engage in battle again; this time fighting the State. To that end I am starting a letter writing campaign, a Veteran voter information campaign, and a Veteran mobilization campaign to let our “elected” officials know that “...we’re mad as Hell, and we aren’t going to take it anymore...” I give you my first offering:
“A Band Of Brothers”
* You'll have to use your "zoom" function to read the letter...