"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham


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Photo: D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..Lest We Forget…..

Yesterday, the US observed Veterans Day and Canada and the Common Wealth observed Remembrance Day. WWI was to be the “war to end all wars” with the 1918 signing of the armistice ending the war between the Allied Nations and Germany. All told, over 1.4 million (and counting) US and Canadian heroes have given their lives for our safety. Today, men and women will step up, as they do each day, with a focus and commitment to protecting our way of life. Today's M5T serves as a reminder that today would be a good day to reach out to one man or one woman in active uniform, their spouses who are serving today, or someone who is retired military and to remember the profound sacrifice of those who are no longer with us.

1. The VA

In 1921, the Veterans Bureau was created to administer health needs of WWI veterans. It was dissolved in 1930 when corruption and scandal was uncovered, replaced with the Veterans Administration. A continuing litany of corruption, abuse, incompetence, and failure to lead (or care?) has been a recurring theme within the VA since 1930. Both sides of the aisle should be ashamed that this has gone on this long.

2. The Numbers

Today, the VA employs over 377,000 people. In 2019 the VA will have a budget of almost $200 billion of Federal funds (up from $139 billion in 2013) to supervise and administers over one trillion dollars in insurance claims.

3. The Dirty Secret 

Over 656,000 veterans today suffer from PTSD. About 8,000 veterans tragically take their own lives every year. That’s 18 to 22 a day; or about 1 suicide every 65 minutes. Arguably an epidemic, this dirty little secret of the military is gaining more visibility. A Goldman Sachs analyst, Brian Kinsella who is a former US Army Captain, has started a non-profit organization called “Stop Soldier Suicide”. It appears that Wall Street does have a heart. The organization cannot keep up with demand.

4. Caring for Vets

Over 40,000 non-profit veteran-focused organizations are scrambling for funds in the US. This scribe suggests that some of the $200 billion of funds used by the VA be reallocated to those organizations that effectively care for and help treat our wounded veterans. Neither federal party has been able to get this right in almost 100 years of “serving” those veterans in need. Perhaps the private sector can do a better job.

5. Thankful

There are currently almost 22 million US Veterans alive in the US today, of which 10% are women, and 75% have had active duty in war. Make a point of finding a Veteran today; shake their hand, give them a hug, buy them lunch, send them an email. No matter how simple, do something to let them know you respect and appreciate what they are doing, what they have done, and that you respect their service.

Here’s to never forgetting.

© 2018 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved.

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business. He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook. Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine. His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome. Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com