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November 11, 2014

The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month

Harry M. Covert

There is much to be considered on this somber day of remembrance. The War to End All Wars ended a centenary ago, but the Great War didn’t end anything at all with exception of massive deaths of nine million soldiers and about seven million civilians.


The United Kingdom had about 900,000 deaths, the United States recorded for its one-year participation 116,708.


What’s more poignant is to recall the lives of all called to battle the millions upon millions of Americans in the wars since – World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Iraq, Afghanistan, and others some may refer to as skirmishes.


From the War to End All Wars, the American costs were incredible beyond the death rate. Some $30 million was spent, and it would be somewhere in the $400 million plus in today’s money.


I’m not going into the statistics of casualties and costs of the other conflicts. We all know they are exorbitant. We should consider how individual lives were and have been severely changed.


Remembrance in Frederick County is terrific in the various communities. It is Important, too, because the responsibility of the public is nothing short of profound and awesome.


Those who have served in the military branches are heroes, brave, and have the right to be called champions and great without question.


More people should take the time to study the sacrifices of men and women. They are too many to record here.


Expenditures by the federal government are incredible at a time when supposed leaders say the nation is suffering a major recession. Washington is looking for another $5 billion for Iraq, another chunk of similar figures for Ebola in Africa, outrageous expenditures battling illegal immigration. And the list continues.


More than disturbing is the fact that returning soldiers, men and women by the thousands, suffer unbelievably from hunger, homelessness and physical and mental problems. How disgusting this is and the subject should be discussed daily and on this day of remembrance, Veterans Day.


How many veterans from the recent international wars – not police actions – are now jailed for crimes, some not serious and others who are felons of the highest order?


One of the greatest acts following WWII was the creation and implementation of the GI bill. Today the government’s Veterans Administrations continues to fail its constituents.


No individual or family should go homeless or hungry anywhere. The old argument is often heard, “let ‘em get jobs.” This is a disgraceful comment.


There are lots of churches and synagogues, humanitarian organizations, and city and county agencies involved with tending residents who have serious needs. The public always sees the organizations that walk, play golf, sponsor cook-offs and all sorts of money-raising projects. This is more than good – but not enough


How easy, I mean difficult, it is to feed the hungry, provide medicines and schools around the world. I’m guilty of being involved in international relief and development. It is a never-ending battle and improvement is difficult to see with the exception of expanding birth rates and more hunger, more health needs and more educational needs.


There are several avenues available to help the sick and injured military men and women. Why not create a special division of the Department of Defense for the retired, young and old, and the discharged in all categories.


Technically, have the military recall all of the suffering vets. Put them on special joint installations with special accommodations available. Lots of posts were closed, allegedly to save money. Pooh. The executive branch and the Congress have no qualms about coming up with billions of dollars for every other place in the world.


Everett Dirksen, a senator of times past, said, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking about real money.” Still true.


I don’t buy into the talk that America is broke. There is no possible price to put on a life. When flowers of American youth pay the price, they are not to be thrown aside as ashes of a notorious and dishonorable world.


America is broken. Time to fix it.


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