Flags of our Sons – Update

February 22, 2007 at 9:19 am Leave a comment

Roughly a week after I wrote my first piece on the subject, The Washington Post came out with an expose on the conditions at the top military hospital  — Walter Reed. As you can see from the linked article, conditions there are extremely poor.

Behind the door of Army Spec. Jeremy Duncan’s room, part of the wall is torn and hangs in the air, weighted down with black mold. When the wounded combat engineer stands in his shower and looks up, he can see the bathtub on the floor above through a rotted hole. The entire building, constructed between the world wars, often smells like greasy carry-out. Signs of neglect are everywhere: mouse droppings, belly-up cockroaches, stained carpets, cheap mattresses.

This is the nation’s top and most recognized medical facility which deals with Veterans of all wars. You can’t sit there and not be completely furious with what is happening here! These men and women are returning from battle bruised and bloodied, under a banner of freedom for which they risk their lives and we allow cockroaches to crawl over their neglected beds?

If this is happening at a very visible level, I would hate to think of the level of neglect plaguing other military hospitals around the country. Maybe I wasn’t that far off when I mentioned Article 99 in my previous post.

The paragraph that struck me most:

The Pentagon has announced plans to close Walter Reed by 2011, but that hasn’t stopped the flow of casualties. Three times a week, school buses painted white and fitted with stretchers and blackened windows stream down Georgia Avenue. Sirens blaring, they deliver soldiers groggy from a pain-relief cocktail at the end of their long trip from Iraq via Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Andrews Air Force Base.

I hope with the closure of Walter Reed that we intend to open a state of the art hospital that is fully staffed! With our war machine economy, I’m sure there will be more conflicts and wars and with that will come the white buses filled with injured troops.

Instead of making this an issue for a 2008 white house run, I encourage anyone who reads this to write his or her senator and demand significant changes in the way we handle our casualties of war. We owe it to anyone who has ever fought under the flag to treat them humanely, with respect and give them the best care we can afford as a nation. I don’t know how anyone can look at the face of an injured soldier and not recognize the ultimate price of our neglect; burying more Marines like the one I mentioned before under the same stars and stripes for which he proudly fought for you and me.


Entry filed under: Soap Box.

Title Change to ‘Ripple’ Best Movie Outtakes

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