Here in 2019 there is a constant outcry for better veteran care, better medical treatment and better pensions. However, when I look back to my youth, I have to wonder if there was ever good care for veterans. During my naval service I injured my hands and back, when I first applied for a disability pension in the Uk. I received a small information booklet outlining my various options. The suggested jobs available in Civvy St to a disabled veteran were only two! One I could apply to be an elevator operator! Or parking attendant! I was in danger of having at least one finger amputated, and the book listed the rates of this amputation. It was graded by rank, example an Admiral received something in the region of 5000 GBPs. I was at the time a Leading Seaman and I would receive something closer to 500 GBPs for losing the same limb as an admiral. I’m quite sure this booklet had been printed during or shortly after the First World War. This happened in 1960 but to go back further in my youth. I recall seeing disabled veterans sitting on cushions on the sidewalks and drawing with coloured chalks. They either had a tin can or used there upturned cap to receive coins from a passing public. I clearly remember one man who had lost both legs, he sat on a little platform on four caster wheels. I think he propelled himself with his hands. I was to young to understand the severe neglect that had turned these brave men into beggars because the British government didn’t care. More recently in the 1980s here on PEI there was a veteran of the Normandy landings who live in my area. People considered him crazy, he would often dive into ditches shooting imaginary Germans. He walked around much of the time muttering and cursing, sadly we all gave him a wide berth. No one ever came to his aid, or to offer treatment, not the legion, not DVA. When I look back and then look forward to today it appears very little has changed. Oh! Politicians are out in force on Remembrance days, they praise veterans, pat them on the back, shake their hands and thank them. Then they go back to their old ways, lip service, make promises, but never really make the effort to look after their needs. Perhaps we veterans are wrong! Perhaps we are asking for more than the government can give. In closing, Wouldn’t it be nice if we had a national organization that could speak on our behalf.
God Bless and keep reading.